The latest design concepts feature customizable group-seating pods, sleek lounge bars and, soon enough, co-working spaces — all at 35,000 feet.
These changes come with a trend toward experiential travel, in which “authenticity and personalized experiences” are key components of a fulfilling journey, according to a 2016 US Experiential Traveler Survey by travel industry intelligence platform Skift.
From Qatar Airways’ new QSuite group-seating arrangements to Airbus’ proposed adaptable modular planes, air travel is entering a new era of personalization and socialization.
“Beyond premium cabins, I see a continued trend of more opportunities for passengers to engage socially with others,” Ben Schlappig, travel consultant and founder of One Mile at a Time aviation blog, tells CNN.
“KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) took the first step towards that with [its] Meet & Seat concept — where you can pick out a seatmate based on their social profiles.”
“While I don’t exactly see that type of service growing, I think airlines will find more opportunities to let passengers engage with one another — but only when they choose to, of course.”