If a picture says a thousand words, then what does a concisely scripted, well-produced video with great interviews and demonstrations convey? Quite a lot.
Late on 1 December, Airbus posted a YouTube video that very concisely describes and displays the airframer’s ‘Space Flex’ lavatory configuration option for its A320 family of aircraft. Not only is the timing of this short film ideal (on 3 December ‘European Day for People with Disabilities’ is observed), but the video – in fewer than five minutes – presents the clearest visualization of how the concept actually works than any that we’ve seen thus far.
While the short production does go into the economic benefits of the solution for airlines, it focuses more on the fact that this innovation can vastly improve the air travel experience for people with disabilities.
In the video, Airbus marketing director Marc Muller presents the configuration on a full-scale cabin mock-up. He demonstrates step-by-step how Space Flex enables crew to transform two separate passenger lavatories into a single room that is wheelchair accessible. An interview with Mary Fraser, campaign manager at SCOPE (a UK-based charity promoting greater rights for disabled people in the workplace and daily life) emphasizes the necessity of this capability.
“I think it will make a big difference to me as I will be able to use the chair that is on the plane to go to the loo just like everybody else, and that means I will finally be able to go on those trips that I’ve always wanted to go on and just never been able to before,” she said.
On an A320 family aircraft with Space Flex, passengers will notice that the two standard passenger lavatories at the rear of the aircraft are moved completely so that the doors face forward into the cabin, rather than opposite each other across the aisle. While this new monument composition results in a smaller rear galley, it allows for six extra seats to be installed in economy class, and, perhaps most importantly, delivers more privacy and autonomy to passengers with reduced mobility (PRMs).