When we think about being in a comfortable space, the first thing that comes to mind is probably not an aircraft cabin. Most people who fly economy class feel cramped and after a long flight, passengers are often tired and achy. Airlines have sacrificed passenger comfort throughout the years in order to save on costs and fit more seats. With heavy materials and the related fuel consumption, the design has often been centered around savings and maximizing profits. However, making aircraft comfortable for passengers is becoming increasingly economical as technology rapidly develops and consequently increases an aircraft's efficiency.
The more an airline can save on the vast array of costs associated with flying, the more they can invest in cabins that increase comfort. Innovative technologies and material are used for both the interior and exterior components of an aircraft to improve passenger comfort. Let's take a look at a couple of the aircraft that have utilized these technologies: The Boeing 787 family and the Airbus A350 family.
The Boeing 787 has a spacious cabin, large windows, and vaulted ceilings. The passenger’s windows are not only larger, but don’t have the traditional panel that slides up and down— passengers can adjust the tint with the press of a button. This technology increases passenger comfort by allowing them to maintain a view of the beautiful aerial scenery while not being blinded by sunlight. The design also incorporates a new air system which adjusts air pressure and humidity, and this leads to reduced fatigue and dryness. A few of the other features include more comfortable seating, large overhead bins, and new lighting systems. Adjustable LED lighting creates a more relaxing environment. The traditional lighting options have often contributed to fatigue. One of the newest technologies to increase passenger comfort is the Boeing 787s ability to sense and dampen turbulence— reducing motion sickness.
The “Airspace by Airbus” cabin in the A350 family is quiet and comfortable. Airbus Industries was able to achieve its goal of increasing comfort by utilizing various modern technology. It has wider seats, high ceilings, and ambient lighting. The cabin’s air system is refreshed every few minutes and has an optimal cabin altitude of 6,000 ft, reducing the effects of jet lag. Air is also adjusted to comfortable temperatures and humidity.
Both of these companies have used similar technology to increase airline passenger comfort and reduce the dreaded effects of jet lag while maintaining features unique to their own aircraft. But, none of these improvements would have been possible without the advancements in electrical systems and composite materials.
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