As 2021 comes to a close, we take a look back at some of our most popular stories on the site this year, as well a few of our own favourites too. Do let us know what were your own personal highlights too, we’d love to hear from you. Here’s to another exciting year in 2022 – amazingly our 10th year at TheDesignAir.

10. Trip Report: TAP Portugal A330neo Business Class December 2020

The first of two trip reports in our top 10 countdown. TAP Portugal is well known as one of the cheapest Star Alliance carriers, however, with the addition of its new Airbus Neo fleet, the ageing business class cabin (albeit comfortable) has been given a new lease of life thanks to brand new Recaro seats. While travelling during the pandemic wasn’t going to give us a real sense of the all-singing and dancing experience, it was the perfect opportunity to see how TAP, albeit incredibly affordable, would live up to our expectations. Find out what we discovered here.

09. Exclusive: Minty Fresh, Acumen’s approach to JetBlue’s latest Business Class cabin

Acumen, the London based design studio, has been working with JetBlue for several years, reimagining the passenger experience. Back in 2016 they commenced work on the new A321neo cabin, but they have also worked on the new A321LR project which graced the news this week, thanks to its innovative business class cabin featuring the new Mint ‘Studios’. TheDesignAir caught up with Acumen’s team at the start of the year before the launch of the product for an exclusive look at the design details. 

08. Why so blue? The dominance of the colour in the industry

Aviation is awash with blue. Approximately a decade ago, the skies were filled with blue liveries, interiors lined wall-to-wall with blue seats, carpets, and uniforms in every shade of navy. While design studios have gradually peeled airline brands away from such a strong design vertical, what caused such visual dominance in the industry? Check out our thinking here.

07. Could Ascent by Adient Aerospace climb the ranks?

Like many things in the aviation industry, there are always one or two major suppliers in most cases dominating the industry, whether its Boeing or Airbus, Rolls Royce or GE and within business class seats let’s face it, Collins Aerospace or Safran, but there are just as capable competitors on the fringe. Recaro and Thompson Aerospace have done a good job of carving out some of the market share, but the latest to start attracting attention is Adient Aerospace.

06. Air France opens Jouin Manku designed lounge for CDG’s Schengen travellers

Winning Best New Lounge at this year’s TheDesignAir Awards, Air France has just opened an exciting new lounge space dedicated to Business Class travellers and Flying Blue Elite Plus members travelling through the airline’s short and medium-haul Schengen network. It’s no small affair, as this lounge is one of the airline’s largest, with a surface area of no less than 3,000 sq. m. catering to 570 seats spread across two levels. Check out why it is award winning here.

05. Trip Report: Turkish Airlines’ A350 Business Class

Turkish Airlines has continued to operate throughout the pandemic. In fact, it’s been one of the largest international carriers in Europe for the past 18 months. However, the pandemic also saw the full launch of its A350 operations, which headed to destinations such as Manila, Jakarta and Sao Paulo, meaning that the aircraft was pretty much off limits, meaning a delay to checking out what the A350 now brings to the airline’s already expansive fleet. But once we got onboard, check out what we got to experience.

04. Singapore Airlines reveals its 737 interiors, with predicted flat beds in Business Class

This year also saw Singapore Airlines officially launch its highly-anticipated new 737 cabin products, which will be rolled out on its Boeing 737-8 fleet. Since the airline merged SilkAir back in to Singapore Airlines, there’s been a lot of anticipation on how the airline can match its impressive long-haul product with a short haul airframe. Click here to find out how SIA have taken a progressive approach to narrow-body flying.

03. China Airlines receives first A321neo with impressive interiors

2021 saw Taiwanese carrier China Airlines receive its first A321neo passenger aircraft which heralds a new era in the airline’s narrow-body fleet. A total of 25 of these advanced Airbus aircraft will enter the fleet over the coming years, which will operate short-haul routes including Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and Cross-strait. China Airlines is yet one more carrier to support an emerging trend in premium narrow-body aircraft.

02. SAS shows off new A321LR interiors

The latest of the four narrow body aircraft to make our list this year is from SAS. The transatlantic narrow-body joins the carrier’s wide-body fleet in connecting the two continents, but trying to keep the same passenger experience touch-points across fundamentally different airframes was a difficult ask. While the airline sadly hasn’t been able to provide all aisle access, by using the same seat family, things should at least feel a little familiar.

01. TheDesignAir 2021 Award Winners Announced

Topping out our list this year is our prestigious awards. TheDesignAir was thrilled with the return of its annual Airline Design awards. Celebrating the very best in airline passenger experience, brand and design across the globe, the awards – now in its 9th year – have once again bestowed its leading design airlines, new products and for the very first time, a Design Innovation Award specifically responding to COVID.

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Posted by:Jonny Clark

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