by Telegraph Luxury Travel Editor and John O'Ceallaigh, The Daily Telegraph, Jan 26, 2017
Now in its 11th year, the Crystal Cabin Awards is something of a barometer for the aviation industry - it’s here that designers and engineers are commended for the innovations and developments either already newly in use or likely to be adopted by major airlines in the years to come. Frequent fliers should look here to see how they’ll likely travel in future.
In anticipation of the 2017 awards, taking place at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg on April 4, the organisation has released its shortlist of award nominees and it shows the experience for those who travel in planes’ premium cabins is set to get even better.
The 32-seat Delta One Suite cabin
Having long lagged behind competitor airlines in the Middle East and Asia, American carriers Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have both been commended for their new business-class products. Due to come into service aboard its Airbus A350 aircrafts in autumn of this year, the Delta One Suite is the first business-class cabin to feature a sliding door for each passenger. The unparalleled privacy on offer to its customers will be the 32-seat cabin’s primary selling point, but customers will also enjoy new culinary concepts, improved entertainment systems and trinkets including Tumi amenity kits and Kiehl’s beauty products.
The United Polaris business-class cabin
Now in service, United Airlines’ Polaris business class is less revolutionary but significantly improves the flying experience for US-based travellers who are reliant on the airline. They’ll now benefit from aisle access from every seat and an improved lounge network.
Australia’s Qantas Airways is also commended. Designed by Apple’s Marc Newson, its new A330 business-class seat allows for gate-to-gate seat recline meaning weary passengers can comfortably submit to sleep from the moment they take their seat and then throughout the rest of their flight. As well as serving domestic routes, the aircraft will be in use for flights from Australia to cities in Asia including Shanghai and Bangkok.
The Qantas A330 business-class cabin
Perhaps inevitably, however, the most striking design innovations to be recognised at this year’s awards are those relating to private-jet travel.
Entirely unnecessary a feature as it seems to be, Austria’s F.List GmbH has developed the first-ever heated stone flooring system that can be installed on a private jet. Customers who install the rig will be able to choose from 11 different types of stone.
Also commended is US-based company Kestrel Aviation Management which has revealed its concept, showing the transformation of a commercial Boeing 787 Dreamliner (which ordinarily carries between 240 and 335 passengers) into a 40-passenger private jet so spacious it resembles an airborne penthouse apartment . Dubbed the Dreamjet, it features an entertainment and study lounge that accommodates 16, dedicated dining spaces, an en suite master bedroom and hotel suite-quality bathroom with shower. It is finished with hardwood floors, hand-tufted carpets and high-domed ceilings.
Mercedes has moved into private jet development
Mercedes is muscling in on private jets too. Following the release of the mark’s Arrow 460-Granturismo speedboat, its new private jet cabin (conceived in collaboration with Lufthansa Technik) features a galley for live cooking, entertainment zone, bedroom with king-sized bed and en-suite shower room. Most innovative of all is the cabin’s helix-shaped interior which creates different zones without the provision of walls or barriers. It is designed for 16 passengers.
This article was written by Telegraph Luxury Travel Editor and John O'Ceallaigh from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.