Weighing the Options in a User Experience Economy

When choosing which airline to fly, most consumers choose based on a variety of factors: costs , convenience, entertainment services, food selections, or various other premises.. Yet, many other passengers choose flights solely based on the price — sacrificing an extra three hours of movie-watching. But now, with the world shifting towards the experience economy, the way consumers will select airlines is forever changing. What if you could pick your favorite airline based on whether or not it houses a spa, gym or even your favorite restaurant? Imagine booking a flight on the grounds that you could host an inflight meeting at a Starbucks while 40,000 feet in the air. Such bold changes may be in the future as Airbus takes on the new challenge of enhancing its cabin’s interior.

Development Still Up in the Air

According to Aviation Week, Airbus plans to develop and test a cabin architecture that allows aircraft interiors to be swiftly and flexibly configured using modules that are set up by airlines or partners with options ranging from sleeping bunks to soundproof playrooms. In fact, if all things go well, this could mean that you’ll never have to sit through a flight with a crying baby ever again. This concept, which Airbus dubs “Transpose”, will provide passengers with new inflight experiences, and airlines with not just new revenue streams, but also the ability to tailor their cabins. Airbus will produce a large array of specified design rules that module developers must follow to be suitable for the aircraft. The goal is to develop flight-ready modules that can be installed for long-haul flights and removed for short ones. Jason Chua, the project executive explains that they “are designing for maximum interchangeability. It is not just about people sitting on an aircraft. It’s about creating some more-revenue-dense experiences, such as dining, that harness a willingness to pay comparable with what they would spend on the ground.” The airplane will still maintain lavoratory and exit positioning for safety purposes, but the modular booths and seats will be reconfigured for takeoff and landing. Transpose has three main goals:

  1. Demonstrate the technical feasibility of building and operating a modular cabin system
  2. Validate passenger enthusiasm for new inflight experiences enabled by the module
  3. Conclude a business plan that makes the idea appealing in the near future

In the meantime, Airbus is developing a model that it aims to test-fly within the next three years. Of course, this means that these customizable airplanes won’t be available for quite some time. For now, consumers will have to embrace current emerging innovations, like the world’s biggest passenger plane. The A380 Airbus from the Emirates Airline has just shown off its two levels, semi-private suites, shower spas, and on-board lounges at Boston’s Logan Airport. As a longtime partner of Dassault Systèmes, Airbus is evidently designing planes with the consumer experience in mind. From airplanes with interchangeable interiors, to current A380s that house shower spas, Airbus and Dassault Systèmes are truly complementing one another. To learn more about how Airbus uses Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE applications for design, simulation and manufacturing, read our customer story here. So when booking your next flight, think about what’s important to you – maybe that spa pampering is just what you’ll need.

Rebecca Shpektor

Rebecca is currently a senior at Boston University majoring in public relations and mass communications. She loves creative writing, binge watching episodes of Black Mirror while cuddling with her Pomsky puppy, and eating sushi in excessive amounts. One day, she hopes to explore every country.