Passenger experience: is this the new way?
Just few months ago (last march), we read an article that talked about the improvements made on Boeing 787 to guarantee a better passenger experience (IN FOCUS: Cabin interior advances beyond seats and IFE). This was a chance to reflect on how an airline company (or a company that works in this kind of industry) can make a difference to give a supreme passenger experience to its own final customers, the travelers.
This article talked about how Boeing is following a different strategy to improve not only the comfort – that is “largely a matter of seat features” – but the possibility to distract the passenger from the fact that they are flying. The flight is a unique experience, and as Blake Emery, Boeing’s director of differentiation strategy, says “with the new philosophy, we want to celebrate that we are in the sky. The innovations are designed to connect the travelers more strongly with the flying experience”.
To reach this purpose Boeing has developed a series of features that will allow passengers to better enjoy their OWN flight:
- a larger passenger window (made 30% bigger than on “similarly sized airplanes today”). This concept allows more natural light into the cabin (and improves the view to the outside). “The idea is that passengers never lose connection with the aerial landscape”, says Emery.
- Architectural depth: the entry area is designed around the main passenger doors on the 787 and 747-8 more generously to create a spacious and inviting atmosphere during boarding.
- Less noise and more lights, especially to create cabin ambience and improve passenger comfort. Mood lighting in particular, “can replicate sunsets and sunrises with gradual changes between light and darkness, can help passengers to sleep and wake at appropriate times to reduce the effects of jetlag during long-haul flights”. Some scientific studies in fact proved that the colored lighting has an influence on travelers’ well-being.
So all this features lead to a consideration: the company is working to realize the TOTAL passenger experience. An experience gained through the complete list of flight aspects: comfort, space, IFE, light and so on.
We think this is the same point of view of associate creative director at Teague Jenny Ruegamer (INTERIORS: Teague says airlines need to focus more on brands, not products). During the last AIX, she said that the industry needs to decrease emphasis on seat products and instead develop a brand. She also said some perfect, right words: “Product will always be important but as we move towards standardization, and everyone’s economy class looks similar, you need to go back to your brand and find your brand, your brand values. Your brand experience will be different from other airlines”.
Another example of this point of view is an interesting article published on Airlinetrends.com (How airlines are responding to consumer trends with innovative services). This article is a resume of the presentation given by airlinetrends.com founder Raymond Kollau at the annual Aircraft Interior Expo in Hamburg (“Welcoming Change and Innovation in the Cabin”). What does he say? The real total passenger experience is played with plural factors. Not only a better cabin and seat comfort. One of the major developments today is that passengers are being provided with a more personalized experience. “The combination of passengers wanting a more tailored experience and the need for airlines to increase their ancillary revenues, is also leading to a decline of traditional cabin classes, especially on short-haul flights”.
This idea is shown also in this article (Standards set in other industries fuel airline passenger expectations), where he says “airlines and airports need to tune into the customer from a holistic perspective when designing passenger services, so they operate more from the outside-in”.
This is the break point: we thinks that every company involved in the airline industry, must move itself along the way of innovation and of the bigger values for the passenger. We think it’s important for a passenger to have the feeling of flying and living a unique experience. We would like that every passenger don’t feel himself like an ordinary man, but a man that could live the time and the space of a flight as a beautiful experience. This is a field where it’s still possible a wide range of testing and the opportunity to design a great experience along passengers’ wishes. Our industry must learn from the example of other companies. Our customers have the same needs for innovation and customization as the ones of more advanced industries.
Let’s talk to passengers and listen what they want. That’s our goal.
Any suggestion about it? Feel free to leave a comment.