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Crystal Cabin Awards 2017 to present ideas for improved flying

Neck and neck race among aviation giants

A total of 21 products and ideas have reached the final of the world famous Crystal Cabin Awards for innovations in aircraft cabin interiors this year, a press release said Wednesday (March 15). The entries range from parking guidance system for cabin baggage to a lavatory mirror that displays on-board video and information. The entries reflect just some of the many innovations for nearly every part of an aircraft. A total of 85 shortlisted entrants from 21 nations have made the 2017 Crystal Cabin Awards more popular than ever in their eleven-year history.

Award ceremony at Aircraft Interiors Expo

The seven winners of the Crystal Cabin Awards will be announced on the first evening of the Aircraft Interiors Expo (April 4-6, 2017) in Hamburg’s Hotel Kempinski. A jury of experts including airlines, producers, professors and journalists will quiz the finalists during the preceding Elevator Pitch. An overview of all the submissions can be found on. The following are just some of the finalists:

The “Cabin Concepts” category is set to be more exciting than ever with three international “heavyweights” going head-to-head including Canada’s aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, America’s Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. Bombardier is in contention with its C Series, the first completely new short and medium-haul airliner for 30 years. Delta is offering business class passengers privacy in enclosed cabin areas using partitions in its “Delta One Suite” – a luxury that has so far been reserved for first class passengers. The concept is being implemented in Delta’s A350s initially.

Dinner service and room for relaxing

The business passenger concept by United Airlines, “Polaris”, also promises maximum freedom. After enjoying the exclusive Polaris Lounge with dinner service and relaxation rooms, passengers experience a new cabin configuration with all-aisle access seats in a density neutral layout, not compromising space or comfort.

This year’s novelties include the “K-Reflexion Mirror” by Krüger Aviation – a finalist in the “Material and Components” category. Thanks to its semi-transparent structure, this first plastic mirror can display safety announcements, product information and tips for the destination in the on-board lavatory. Studio Moderna Bologna has focused mainly on long-haul aviation seating and its innovative, elastic material units for the aircraft seat allow for the optimal distribution of body weight – like a cushion above the clouds.

Watchdogs and cabin baggage management systems

Innovations in the “Cabin Systems” category are more in the background, but no less relevant. The “Watchdog” by Airbus addresses a problem that may sound absurd but in fact generates enormous costs in aviation every year: accidental activation of the emergency escape chutes on the ground when crew members open the aircraft doors. The “Watchdog” sensor warns whenever there is a movement near the door handle, which will help minimise this dangerous and costly source of error.

Zodiac Aerospace has also come up with a system for managing cabin baggage in overhead compartments. Similar to the green arrows in multi-storey car parks, lights above the overhead baggage lockers indicate free space for cabin baggage. The concept also includes larger space for suitcases, so that the finalist promises a reduction in “cabin baggage anxiety”.

Environment-friendly aircraft innovations

Efficiency and sustainability are at the forefront of the “Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment” category. This year’s finalists include the U.S. based “GermFalcon” company. Their cleaning device for cabins uses ultraviolet C light, which removes bacteria and viruses from seats and other surfaces without using chemical agents. The “Revolution Toilet” from Zodiac Aerospace also aims to fight bacteria. Not only does it consist of recycled composite fibre materials and saves water, it is also merciless with germs on the toilet edge thanks to special vents.

Barrier free toilets

Bombardier is debuting in the Crystal Cabin Awards this year and has a double entry in the finals. In the “Passenger Comfort Hardware” category, the Canadians present their concept of barrier-free toilets for their CRJ aircraft. They are vying with Airbus, whose “Smart Cabin Reconfiguration” solution for moving aircraft seats on rails has also reached the final. Ideas for efficient reconfiguration of seating depending on load have emerged in the past. The Airbus approach now promises minimal effort for installation and crew operation, so that the rail system can be operated without any prior mechanical knowledge. Minimal effort is the principle behind another finalist namely Diehl Comfort Modules. The company’s bar module can be integrated into the gallery in just a few simple steps, magically transforming the grey and dull kitchenette into a bar or a duty-free sales counter within seconds.

Interactive maps for tracking a journey

Inflight entertainment and connectivity is a major field of growth and more and more airlines are installing wireless connectivity solutions for passengers. Two finalists in the “Electronic Systems” category exemplify this development: Lufthansa Technik’s “nice view mobile” product allows passengers to follow their journey with interactive maps on their personal mobile devices.

The U.S. company Global Eagle Entertainment has submitted a complete entertainment portal, allowing passengers to surf the internet, watch films and read magazines on their smartphones. Airbus has also reached the finals in this category and is a finalist in a total of four categories.

Bluetooth to guide passengers to seats

Creative student concepts will again feature in this year’s “University” category. And the Delft University of Technology is aiming to repeat last year’s success with more than one idea in the 2017 final: “myseat” is the equivalent of a parking guidance system for passengers, accompanying them all the way from check-in to their seat using Bluetooth technology. The idea is to achieve a structured boarding process while the “Revitalisation System” turns the cabin seating upholstery into a game controller. Body movements when seated control the on-board entertainment system and lengthy periods in the seat become a workout. Another finalist, the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, is focusing on independent travel for wheelchair users who face many hurdles especially when using the on-board toilet. Thanks to its specially designed seat, the “Smart Onboard Wheelchair” can be rolled over the toilet.

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