Multi-coloured silhouttes of men, women and children, with a wheelchair in the middle of the group, against the backdrop of a world map

Does flying with a disability and keeping your dignity have to be mutually exclusive?

Back in 2019, the Passenger Experience Conference hosted a discussion, called Flying for All, to examine how an onboard experience could be created that works for every passenger, including those with mobility, visual or hearing impairments. It was one of the most impassioned sessions ever held at PEC, with speakers and audience alike keen to share ideas and experiences.

Since then, the coronavirus pandemic has catalysed major social and economic changes, including the culture around flying. Yet the goal of making the journey safe, dignified and enjoyable for everyone seems just as intractable. This is not from lack of individual innovations and initiatives, but the broad mindsets within aviation could benefit from some introspection. It is self-evident that implementing systemic changes for passengers with disabilities will require a highly collaborative approach and the setting of new industry standards.

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Moody aircraft cabin interior showing a woman reading a book and a young man wearing a baseball cap sitting in the Doy Design Ultra Slim 6kg aircraft seats

Future cabins – steps to leave a lighter environmental footprint

More than 100 years before the Wright brothers took to the air, Sir George Cayley, while musing on his principals of aerodynamics that would define aviation, it occurred to him that new technologies to make planes lighter would be a critical issue. This lead him, among other things, to invent the bicycle wheel. Sir George’s desire to reduce weight remains just as relevant today as the aviation industry focuses on reducing its carbon footprint and impact on the environment.

Moves to reduce emissions are currently concentrated on airframe and operational innovations, plus new energy sources, while the interiors community’s focus is on materials and systems that underpin cabin function.

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