Digitalizing the aircraft cabin experience for ground staff, crew and passengers

Undisclosed – Airline OEM
Strategic vision
Design concept

The challenge

At the height of a pandemic and climate crisis, introducing a new Airline OEM requires a deeply felt vision and great bravery. Aiming to create a paradigm shift in the cabin system sector, this client approached us to conceptualize what a data-driven platform and in-flight entertainment GUI looks like. With the development of their technical ecosystem well underway and a very ambitious roadmap, we were challenged to come up with concepts that were most advanced, yet acceptable, but also challenged the status quo that went beyond the cabin experience.

Value delivered

A visionary GUI concept that delivers on a short-term promise and builds towards a long-term relationship between airlines, passengers, and partners.

Part of the exciting design challenge is to orchestrate a playing field with many variables: from touchpoints to personas, from business models to different perspectives, and from retrofit to new hardware implementation. A single-user interface (GUI) is no longer enough. There is no single user, there is no single client, and there is no use case that lives in a vacuum.

We systematically considered all contexts and interactions, to design adaptive components that fulfil any user’s needs: passengers, cabin crew, ground staff, developers, etc. We designed a system, rather than an end-point to cater to this. A key ingredient to this new vision was the use of data throughout the ecosystem.

We wanted to bring back the magical feeling of flying and create a seamless and engaging experience for passengers. From your home to your destination and back, we created the ‘hidden hero’ that functions as a playmaker between the ecosystem of the airline and the passenger experience.

An ecosystem that delivers excellence and brings innovation into a delightful experience for travelers. To do so, we have combined the functional and the attainable with the magical feel of flying to evoke that emotion.

No single passenger is the same. While they are settling in their seat, they can go through a few simple questions to customize their experience for hours to come. Are you interested in documentaries, movies, finance or gaming? This will help them narrow down the abundance of content into a selection of both familiar and surprising content. Over time the system will learn from your choices and provide suggestions based on past behavior.

Smart planes and cabin generate valuable data. The seat map could show the available toilets and prevent crowding by adding a virtual queue. With AR, there is a world of relevant content to be unlocked based on the view out of the window. And why not teach people about the workings of the plane while they are in it? Smart lighting, designed to help with adjusting passengers' circadian rhythm, can be taken into the interface for further reinforcement and as an opportunity to provide health tips.

Passenger data can help to improve their experience, but also increase relevancy of third-party services. The plane ride is a perfect moment to further explore the lonely planet app, especially if content is pre-loaded and presented on the big screen in front of the passenger. Or maybe they still need to find a few places to stay on Airbnb? Interactions through the system will generate relevant insights that can be leveraged by all parties in the ecosystem.

The current digital journey for passengers is often fragmented across touch-points, while there are great opportunities for services and entertainment before and after the flight. During the hours of waiting at the airport, why not pre-select the content you want to watch? Or finish watching the movie while you travel further? From the passenger's phone, synchronization of preferences or content can be made very easily. After the journey, suggestions for sights, activities or carbon footprint compensation can be made depending on customer interests.

People often do not travel alone. With travel companions, either known or unknown, you can watch a movie together and stay in sync regardless of pauses for in-flight services. Beyond entertainment, people might connect over shared interests and expand their business network. In case of unforeseen itinerary changes, a quick chat session with ground staff may put travelers at ease and provide peace of mind.

A single user interface (GUI) is no longer enough. We developed an adaptive user interface that determines and personalizes the experience, resulting in different services, content and branding being offered.

Adaptivity in interfaces and experiences can only be fuelled by knowledge about the context. This knowledge is the data flowing between travellers, airlines, 3rd parties and the ecosystem. This is where true data design comes into play. We learn from each interaction to inspire and improve the next.

The whole ecosystem can be managed via the Control Studio application. Ground staff can monitor usage, sales performance and control the content in the system. System settings, look and feel can be determined per airline, per route, or per plane type. Using a smart rule system, more advanced behaviors can be configured to increase relevance.

A big thank you from us for your work and vision. You have sensed what we were unable to articulate. You definitely met our points in terms of thinking, pain points and also the chances in exploring and providing new untouched fields with our platform approach. We could feel the enthusiasm and fun you seem to have had working on this.

Undisclosed name, Platform Strategy Owner

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If you’d like to learn more about how we can add value to your business, contact Thomas Clever.
+31 6 19 55 29 81

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