TheDesignAir is pleased to share a free-to-download White paper on the ‘Future of Travel’, reflecting on the changes to the passenger experience post-Covid19. Founder of the site, Jonny Clark, explores gradual shifts and changes we can expect to see across the airline industry, both on the ground and in the skies.
The major changes we will see will be based on two fundamentals – increased communication and privacy. We will see airlines work harder than ever to communicate and reassure passengers at every stage of the journey, putting an emphasis on wellbeing. We will see the emergence of a new travel experience which allows passengers to craft their own journey based on the values they place on hygiene.
Cabin classes will offer increased levels of privacy, from potentially one-to-one service in First Class with a ‘flight butler’ through to an increasingly popular Premium Economy experience, where the lack of a quiet, private space in an airport will become a pain point for passengers paying that little bit more.
We’ve already seen the industry respond rapidly to alter elements of the passenger experience to increase safety, such as boarding processes, but the design elements of the passenger experience need to catch up. Longer boarding could mean more time in the lounge, or making premium passengers board last. Our perception of what we originally classed as a premium experience will need to change, and airlines will have to help re-educate passengers on this new landscape.
Onboard, there’s more opportunity to innovate and make passengers feel valued by an airline. From simple handouts of sanitising wipes during boarding to branded face masks in amenity kits. In Business Class, we will see more emphasis on individual service rather than catering to the whole cabin which will help reduce anxiety, and doors on seats will become a key decider for more hygienically-nervous passengers.
In economy, could we see the rise of a new sub-class, whereby middle seats become an ancillary sell – not because of social distancing – but because passengers become accustomed to a little extra space while airlines return to pre-Covid19 levels? Will airlines even return to wider seats in economy in the years to come, relying less on low-yielding high-density layouts, and focussing on higher-yielding larger seats.
One thing is for sure. The airline industry has been an incubator for innovation and design for a century, and it will continue to do so for many years to come. But we believe we will see passengers be given a greater choice of space, hygiene and added services that will allow them to create their own hygiene standard, reflecting differing values of sanitisation and price.