Airlines have come a long way over the years but there are a lot of improvements that should be made. Teague, the air travel design studio that has designed the interiors of Boeing planes since 1946, has recently introduced some new ideas that may radically change air travel as we know it today.
These ideas were recently discussed at the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) conference. “Our scenario was, what if we created a startup airline, in the mode of Airbnb or Uber?” explained Devin Liddell, Teague’s principal brand strategist. “If we started an airline from scratch, what would we do?”
As Fast Co. Design outlines the main takeaways from the conference, which I would like to share below.
No Carry-On Luggage
Now that most airlines charge upwards of $25 per checked bag, people have begun to store more of their luggage in overhead bins. But these bags and the large overhead compartments take up to much space. As Teague explained, you don’t need all the stuff you are putting in the overhead bin, so why is it up there? Furthermore, a lot of time is wasted trying to board the plane when everyone has their carry-on bags. Liddell calculates that boarding speed could be improved by 71% by eliminating large overhead compartments.
Middle Seat Upgrades
No one wants to sit in the middle seat, and for good reason. But what if the middle seat was given special perks? Teague suggests that inviting forward-thinking brands to take over the seats and offer middle passengers something different then it would make the seats more enticing. The perks could involve an exclusive gift box, the chance to test out a new game, or nab a discount off custom items if they purchase them inflight. Within this scenario, everyone would win: airlines would make more money by selling the seats to brands, brands get access to the passenger and potential customer, and the passenger gets some exclusive perks.
Amazon Prime-Style Memberships
This concept breaks away from the traditional airline miles programs and takes a note out of Amazon Primes book. Liddell presented the idea by asking, what if you could pay an annual fee to an airline and get perks and privileges similar to you do with a Amazon Prime Subscription. Liddell explained, “This concept, which is so important to the Poppi experience, would help airlines escape fare commoditization, and give passengers far more rewarding and meaningful ways to engage with the airline than what airlines offer now.” The concept would even allow for passengers to resell their seats to other people.