Celebrated interiors designer James Park welcomes the day when business-class travellers forgo using embedded inflight entertainment (IFE) systems in favour of their own personal electronic devices (PEDs), as he believes this will reduce complexity and drive further seat innovation.
The time when business-class passengers use their own devices instead of embedded IFE “is imminent”, suggests Park of JPA Design Consultants.“From a design standpoint, I think this would give more freedom with the rest of the seat, and the seat back, as you wouldn’t necessarily need very heavy LCD screens, all of which require a lot of cooling. It will definitely be a step forward.”
Aircraft seat makers and embedded IFE system manufacturers have not always seen eye-to-eye, as their creative visions can collide. However, relations have thawed in recent years as both sides have worked together to produce more standard, integrated IFE/seat solutions for airlines and airframer catalogues (a new FAA advisory circular even spells out the protocol for their cooperation).
“I think in a sense the IFE is under the same constraints as the structure for the seat. And as such you see innovation and development coming through more slowly than other industries, but I’m sure it will catch up and now especially with the kind of technology available for mobile communications, it will change fairly rapidly in the coming two or three years,” says Park.
Meanwhile, London-based JPA continues to enjoy great success with its seat designs. The company last week confirmed that it is the design partner of American Airlines for the complete cabin redesign of the carrier’s forthcoming new Boeing 777-300ERs, which, despite growth in mobile technology, will be fitted with audio/video on demand IFE systems throughout.
The agency has “re-imagined the look and feel of American Airlines first class, business class and main cabin sections and also created the aircraft interior’s unique self-service bar – a first for any US airline – and the galley from a design, trim and finish perspective”, says JPA.
American has selected JPA’s Crystal Cabin Award-nominated reverse herringbone design for its business class seats. The carrier intends to take delivery of 10 Boeing 777-300ERs in 2012 and 2013.