Cabin comfort can make such a difference to the passenger experience.
This is why it is a major priority for Airbus.
Inside the cabin
Airbus aircraft can be fitted with state-of-the-art In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) systems offering passengers individual screens with high-quality audio and video programming on demand.
Passengers can receive other services such as satellite live television broadcasts, safety instructions in their own language, live views from landscape cameras outside of the aircraft, international news or connecting flight information. These latest generation entertainment systems are fully integrated into the seat, which not only creates further legroom but also allows the connection of their own personal electronic devices, such as smart phones, tablets or laptops.
IFE now provides on-board connectivity, available on all Airbus aircraft. Passengers can use their personal wireless devices such as mobile phones, tablets or laptops to send and receive SMS messages, e-mails, access the internet or make and receive phone calls. Easily manageable by cabin crew, a selectable “voice-off” mode restricts cell-phone usage to data services only (SMS, e-mail and internet).
Making sure that cabin crew are as comfortable and well rested as possible is essential to helping them to give the best possible service to passengers.
Cabin air quality
Airbus aircraft already offer one of the safest environments with air filtration systems that ensure high levels of cabin air quality for passengers and crew – thanks to a thoroughly designed cabin “Environment Control System” (ECS). The ECS, which controls and monitors the air quality, temperature and pressure, also ensures that the airflow inside the cabin is constantly moving: It flows from top to bottom at one metre per second, and is subsequently removed through the floor. This airflow is optimised to prevent longitudinal movement, so there is no spread between adjacent seat rows.
Cabin air flow and ventilation: How does it work?
During flight the air is constantly entering and leaving the cabin: As the ‘new’ air enters the cabin from outside, the same quantity of ‘used’ air from the cabin is expelled overboard via the pressurization outflow valves, such that it is fully renewed / exchanged with fresh air about every two to three minutes. For comparison, air in hospital rooms and classrooms is exchanged about every 10 minutes and about 20 minutes in offices.
The fresh air from outside the aircraft is naturally free from any pathogens at the high cruising altitudes where airliners operate. Meanwhile, the other portion of cabin air which is recirculated is first passed through High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters for injection back into the mixer unit in the ECS. HEPA technology, originally developed for the US military to prevent the spread of airborne radioactive contaminants, has been installed in all Airbus aircraft since 1994. The filters, usually installed close to the centre wingbox in the underfloor area of the cabin, are known for their effectiveness in capturing microscopic airborne particulates covering typical bacteria and viruses:
Overall, the HEPA filters eliminate more than 99.9 percent of particles from recirculated air. The result is that the mix of fresh and pre-filtered recirculated air supplied by the ECS to passengers in Airbus cabins is very clean and virus-free.
A relaxing environment
Airbus was the first manufacturer to introduce ambient lighting as a factory fit option on commercial aircraft. Today it is possible to provide ambient lighting on all Airbus aircraft, enabling airlines to adapt it and create an atmosphere in line with their branding and colour scheme, choosing from a palette of 16 million colours.
Pre-defined lighting scenarios use colours, brightness levels and dynamic transitions to provide a pleasant and refined cabin atmosphere in all phases of flight. For example, this feature can be used to reduce the effects of jet lag by simulating sunrise or sunset – ensuring passengers arrive at their destination refreshed and ready to go. The adoption of LED technology throughout the cabin improves control, the variety of scenarios, and the quality of the lighting, so that airlines can “make magic” out of light.
The quietness of Airbus cabins greatly contribute to how rested and refreshed passengers feel upon landing. Airbus’ aircraft often surprise people by how quiet it is on-board, especially when it comes to the A380. Passengers' overall perception is one of peace and quiet, making a major contribution toward stress-free and restful flights.
Airbus’ innovative Airspace cabin brand – launched in 2016 – was created with passengers at heart, and built around four key pillars: comfort, ambience, services and design.
Signature design elements recognisable throughout all Airspace cabins offer more personal space; larger overhead storage bins; spacious contemporary lavatories; along with unobstructed under-seat foot space. Other features are personalised in-flight entertainment options, a unique and customisable welcome area, the latest in LED technology for ambient lighting; plus straight lines, clean shapes and clear surfaces throughout the interior.
Features include new galley and lavatory options to suit individual airline requirements, freeing up main deck space to allow for additional seating, such as modular Space-Flex, or wheelchair-accessible lavatory configurations.
Airbus has created two facilities that enable airlines to experience and define the cabins on their future aircraft: the Airspace Customer Showroom at the company’s Toulouse, France headquarters; and the Airspace Customer Definition Centre in Hamburg, Germany.
The Airspace Customer Showroom in Toulouse has full-scale interior mock-ups of the company’s aircraft. It is the place to visualise, feel and see different levels of comfort targeted at different markets, all under one roof. A variety of configurations and equipment is displayed in full-size mock-ups of the entire cabin, from the entrance area to the crew rest zones – allowing customers to have a privileged look at Airbus cabin innovations as well as comfort and efficiency enablers and lighting mock-ups.
The Airspace Customer Definition Centre in Hamburg offers the ultimate definition experience for Airbus cabins combined with efficient processes and state-of-the-art technology. Launched in 2014, the centre has successfully performed hundreds of definition meetings, benefitting from an ever-improving tool-set of functional definition areas and product displays.