As the October half-term approaches, Singapore Airlines (SIA) has launched ‘Inflight Skills’ for families on long-haul flights.

Customers can learn the ancient Asian art of paper folding and decoration, with specially designed and sustainably produced origami how-to kits.

Featuring the iconic Singapore Airlines batik print, the ‘Inflight Skills’ origami kit contains a step-by-step guide to five creations: bird; plane; fortune teller; a box and a box lid.

Passengers will be able to collect their kits ahead of boarding, either at the departure gate at London Heathrow or at check-in at Manchester Airport. Singapore Airlines has also created a tutorial video alongside the how-to kits with leading origami influencer, Red Ted Art – available to download from YouTube.

Singapore Airlines’ general manager for the UK and Ireland, Sheldon Hee said: “We are very excited to launch the Singapore Airlines Inflight Skills initiative. It is the perfect opportunity for families to engage in a new activity during their flight with us. Our aim is to make every journey personal for our passengers, be it fun or educational, and we hope our passengers will enjoy learning a new skill and have fun at the same time.”

AeroMobile, and Thai telecommunications operator TrueMove Thailand, have launched an in-flight data roaming bundle for their customers.

The launch of the in-flight bundle in September 2019, which is currently available to post-paid customers, makes TrueMove Thailand the first operator in the country to launch an in-flight roaming package.

Vietnam Airlines has become the first Vietnamese airline to offer in-flight connectivity (IFC), following a partnership with SITAONAIR and local satellite operator VISHIPEL.

In-flight Wi-Fi is now available aboard four of Vietnam Airlines’ A350 aircraft.

“With the goal of digital transformation, Vietnam Airlines continues to take the lead in adopting information technology to bring customers added service. By providing the first in-flight Wi-Fi service in Vietnam, we hope to bring passengers convenience and a brand new experience by enabling internet usage during the flight,” said Le Hong Ha, executive vice- president of Vietnam Airlines.

Bulgarian-based Tayaran Jet is to be the launch customer of new economy class seating from JHAS.

According to a press release, the new economy seats are a result of collaborative studies, tests and detail analysis which put the needs of the passenger first.

Mario Schisa, CEO of JHAS commented: “We are really happy to have as our launch customer Tayaran Jet and we thank them because they trusted us for our professionalism, and in particular for our new idea to rethink the aircraft’s seat, with customisation and the needs of passengers.”

The result, he says, is a “new and innovative seat that makes the difference over traditional seating. In this way is born “AURORA 2.0” for Tayaran Jet!”

Tayaran Jet operates two Boeing 737-300 aircraft.

Airbase, part of Trenchard Aviation Group, has won the contract to manufacture Ultra-Leather seat covers for Acro seating set for installation on American ultra-low-cost carrier, Spirit Airlines.

Mark Faulkner, Trenchard Aviation Group’s CEO, commented: “We’re delighted to be working with Acro to help them fulfil their contract with Spirit Airlines. This new win is further evidence of how successful we are at meeting the needs of the aircraft cabin interiors industry.”

Based near London’s Gatwick airport, Airbase’s experienced team of pattern makers and machinists are highly skilled in creating and developing new covers and curtains to match customer specifications and all textile materials used in manufacture are tested in the company’s on-site UKAS-approved vertical burn test chamber.

Founded in 2007 and based in the UK, Acro Aircraft Seating is a manufacturer of passenger seats for commercial aircraft. In September, it announced that Spirit Airlines is to be the launch customer for its new Series 6LC Economy Class seat.
Spirit Airlines is an American ultra-low-cost carrier headquartered in Miramar, Florida. It operates more than 600 daily flights to 76 destinations in the US, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Inflight’s Kimberley Young provides a summary of the latest happenings across the IFEC and cabin technology sector.

As they say, home is where the heart is and airlines are increasingly investing in the cabin experience to create a home-away-from-home for passengers onboard. This week has brought a wave of cabin announcements, the first being Air Astana’s presentation ceremony of its first Airbus A321LR aircraft and enhanced-business class cabin.

Inflight editor, Alexander Preston, was in Kazakhstan this week to explore the new cabin which features lie-flat business class seats equipped with 16-inch screens and Recaro seats in economy equipped with 10-inch screens. The airline has opted for Safran Passenger Innovations (RAVE) entertainment systems, as common with the other Airbus and Boeing aircraft in its fleet.  Look out for more news from the launch in the new issue of Inflight and a profile of Air Astana in our January-February 2020 issue.

Commenting on the new cabins, president and CEO of Air Astana, Peter Foster said the new seats and cabin amenities would ensure “passengers experience the very highest standards of comfort and service” on the routes to Western Europe, Southeast Asia, Moscow, Dubai, Istanbul and Beijing.

Luxury start-up carrier STARLUX also unveiled its new seats designed by BMW Designworks Studio ahead of its planned launch in early 2020.

The A321neo aircraft will feature economy class seating with ultra-thin seatbacks which aim to increase legroom, entertainment systems with a 10.1-inch 720p screen, USB sockets and an earphone port. In business class, dark coloured upholstery fabrics have been used to evoke both elegance and “the majesty of the galaxy”. The seats also host a 16.6-inch 1080p in-flight entertainment system screen, with a seat control panel beside the headrest.

This week has shown us a great deal of concentration in the front-of-the-cabin experience, with Qantas revealing the latest features of its upgraded Airbus A380 aircraft with enhancements to the upper deck lounge and premium cabins.

Through a multimillion dollar upgrade of the airline’s 12 A380s, the aircraft capacity will shift to see Business Suites increase by six and 60 Premium Economy seats (up by 25), while First Suites remained at 14 and economy was reduced by 30 to 341, leading to a total of 485 passengers – up by one.

Meanwhile, Kuwait-based low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways unveiled a new Premium Economy class on its A320neo aircraft to London. With a 31-inch seat pitch and a middle seat kept free for more room and privacy, the airline aims to offer more legroom for passengers.

Sometimes, however, thinking outside the box is the best way to spark new ideas for innovative design. Bringing unusual concepts to the onboard experience, TU Delft presented seat designs for the energy-efficient Flying-V aircraft project. The designs include four types of seating, catering to passengers’ different requirements on journeys: beds, lounge areas, group seating and individual seats, and also an overarching aim to deliver lightweight benefits to the cabin.

As the industry considers how the cabin might evolve in the future, the idea of new break-out areas for a variety of activities onboard might see a change to the traditional class-separated cabins. In Valour Consultancy’s ‘The Future of Aircraft Seating and In-Seat Power’ report, its author, Craig Foster, suggested there is a blurring as the industry moves away from the clearly-defined classes, commenting: “Super first class is emerging and mini-rooms, rather than seats, are seen to represent the ultimate in comfort and a way to differentiate top-tier service from an ever-improving business class, where suites with sliding privacy doors are becoming more commonplace.”

It is exciting to think of the different ways the aircraft cabin could serve passengers needs in the future, but for now, it is great to see airlines investing in enhancing passenger comfort.

Image: STARLUX seats

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TU Delft has presented cabin and seat designs for the Flying-V aircraft project, aiming to deliver lightweight benefits to the cabin for the energy-efficient aircraft as well as enhance the passenger experience.

The TU Delft Flying-V, a collaboration with KLM, is one of the avenues through which TU Delft is exploring ways to improve the sustainability of aviation. The aircraft design is expected to consume 20% less energy due to improved aerodynamics and lighter weight.

The designs for the new oval-shaped cabin were developed by Professor Peter Vink and industrial design engineer Thomas Rotte with 80 students of Industrial Design Engineering.

The concept includes four types of seating: beds, lounge areas, group seating and individual seats. Vink explained that: “The Flying-V can be arranged to suit customer needs, either in the traditional way, as in the current Airbus A350, or radically differently. The aim of our interior concept for the Flying-V is to improve the passenger experience at a lower weight and with passenger numbers comparable to the current Airbus A350.”

“We take advantage of the oval shape by creating beds and positioning the seats in the flight direction, to avoid passengers sitting shoulder to shoulder,” Vink continued.

Researchers found that 26% of passengers travel in groups, and so to reflect this the designers created an arrangement with two rows of two-seater chairs facing each other around a table, allowing those in a group to sit together and chat, eat or work together.

Current seating layouts mean people sit shoulder-to-shoulder in the cabin, but TU Delft has worked with Rebel to bring their staggered seat onboard, Vink said, “giving passengers the experience of more space… and no fight over the armrests!”

With research finding that 60% of passengers would like to sleep on long-haul flights, the Flying-V bed concept consists of three bed modules which can turn into a three seater sofa for an upright sitting position during takeoff and landing. A patent has been requested for the design.

Finally the chaise longue concept features rows of seats alternately mounted to the floor or ceiling creating space above and below the seats and enabling passengers to take different positions during the journey, such as sitting up to work or using the space to lounge.

The reactions have been positive, Vink tells Inflight but adds there is more research to be done including work with a 1:1 mock-up of the cabin features to test if passenger experience is truly improved. He adds: “A passenger booking a seat for five hours and bed for five hours on a ten hour flight seems nice in theory and looks nice, but it is hard to predict how people will behave – for example what happens once their bed booking has ended.”

“People like the idea, but it is good to try it in practice because it would be different in practice,” he continued. “There are many challenges but it is lovely to work on new challenges.”

The team are aiming to make the cabin as lightweight as possible, using innovative materials and Generative Design methods to find the best structure to support external forces (such as the weight of the passenger) and removing all material that is not needed – resulting in a lightweight and unique design.

Since the design for the Flying-V was presented, a team of engineers, technicians, students and researchers have built a flying scale model measuring 3.06 m in width and 2.76 m in length intended for scaled flight testing.

During the test flight the stability of the aircraft will be measured and tests will be conducted to determine the best angle for take-off and landing.

Immfly has partnered with Journey Meditation to integrate meditation practice into the in-flight experience.

Aiming to make meditation more approachable, Journey Meditation offers a meditation app, Journey LIVE to provide expert-led tutorials. Through the partnership, Immfly’s IFE and digital service will bring Journey LIVE into the cabin.

Passengers will be able to access 15-minute classes taught by Journey Meditation certified teachers worldwide with sessions on relieving stress and anxiety, improving performance, sleep and relationships and promoting happiness are provided, in addition to guidance on the basic principles of learning how to meditate.

“We are excited to be Journey Meditation’s first airline partner,” commented Julia Maruny, head of content at Immfly. “Their mission to promote happiness and wellbeing sits squarely with Immfly’s content strategy to enhance the onboard experience.”

Journey Meditation’s wellbeing channel on the IFE will enable passengers an opportunity to watch the content, which is not available to the public at large, onboard with regularly updated videos. Following the in-flight experience, passengers can choose to become subscribers to Journey Meditation’s app.

“We are thrilled to bring Journey LIVE into Immfly’s best-in-class flight experiences,” said Stephen Sokoler, founder of Journey Meditation . “Travel can be particularly stressful and for some, quite nerve wracking. By bringing meditation aboard aircraft, we hope to improve the overall experience no matter where you are in your personal practice.”