The fight for bin space may be a thing of the past thanks to new cabin technology from Airbus that could see passengers book private space in overhead lockers.
The possibility is among a number of options the manufacturer is looking at with award-winning connected cabin technology about now undergoing inflight trials on board an A350-900 Flight lab aircraft.
Airbus says its Airspace Connected Experience will allow airlines to deliver a more personalized experience to passengers while at the same time improving operational efficiency and creating more opportunities for ancillary revenue.
The potential downside is the system will allow unprecedented scrutiny of passengers and what they do while flying.
Elements on the test plane include prototypes of the connected iSeat (Recaro), the Connected Galley (gategroup), a remote wireless cabin management control system, a large OLED display and the first step of Airbus’ new “Intenet of Things backbone” which includes an open software platform.
These allow crew to perform functions such as remotely checking whether seats are in the upright position or the content and location of trolleys.
The manufacturer says potential benefits to passengers include a more personalized travel experience tailored to individual needs and preferences.
“In particular this covers pre- and remote ordering of preferred meals, booking of private bin space, setting of individual seat positions as well as a tailor-made inflight IFE offer,’’ it says.
It predicts airlines will be able to generate additional ancillary revenues through personalized retail and advertisement as well as new services.
They will also be able to improve operational efficiency by applying predictive maintenance, avoiding waste and making crew services more efficient.
“Crews will find a better working environment and more efficient tools, digitally enabled by real-time data from the IoT platform throughout the cabin,’’ it adds.
“A mobile smart device will allow crews to monitor and operate all components”
Airbus hopes to validate and refine the concepts using the A350 Flight Lab and says it hopes “close the feedback loop” using customer experience teams by the end of the year.
The technology won the Crystal Cabin Award for best customer journey at the recent APEX Expo in Los Angeles.