From hitting the gym or chilling out in a spa to dropping off the kids at a play zone, in a few years, passenger-carrying aircraft could be entirely modular, offering all kinds of onboard services and reorganizing cabins for passenger needs or preferences on each route they fly. The aim is to customize the in-flight experience as much as possible.
While onboard Wi-Fi is currently a major preoccupation for many airlines, Airbus is thinking further ahead with a futuristic project for an entirely modular passenger aircraft cabin.
Codenamed Transpose, and presented by project director Jason Chua, the aircraft builders hope to totally transform their planes. The concept involves using the basic framework of cargo planes, which have bare-bones interiors formed of vast, open platforms.
Removable modules could then be attached to the platforms in different configurations, such as rows of seats that turn into beds or sets of bunks, like compartments on overnight trains. A bar could also be added, taking the place of around 10 rows of seats, or a gym or a kids' play area. The firm's goal is to make the cabin as customizable as possible.
Passengers with good ideas can contribute to the project by sharing them with Airbus via Twitter (@flytranspose).
Many passengers have no doubt already dreamed of improving cabin comfort, and could be wondering why the development of such spaces isn't already possible. In fact, today's cabin layouts are carefully considered to meet safety standards and to integrate all the onboard systems needed to fly the plane.
Any modification requires new regulatory procedures to ensure safety is maintained. Everything is therefore fixed in advance, with little room for manoeuvre. As a result, airlines generally only change cabin layouts every seven to 10 years, if they can.