Welcome to Episode 020 of the #PaxEx Podcast. Our guest for this episode is Jon Norris, a long-time aircraft cabin engineer who serves as VP of sales for inflight entertainment specialist Lumexis, and previously worked as Airbus cabin design office vice president.
In this episode, co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby discuss why the comfort factor is being called into question on the Boeing 787, despite all of the new design aircraft’s passenger-pleasing attributes. Having led development of world-class cabin interiors and cabin systems for the Airbus A350 XWB, Jon shares his first-hand knowledge of the compromises that all airframers must make when developing new aircraft cabins. We also talk about how some passengers are now actively booking flights based on aircraft type, and highlight the benefits of true premium economy products.
Next, AirAsia X is exploring a bed-like product for economy class. Is this an economically viable option for the carrier, and what challenges would this pose to distribution? And will it tread on Air New Zealand’s ‘Skycouch’ patent? We discuss the possibilities, and consider whether there is a growing market for these types of products in the face of cramped conditions in economy class.
Last but not least, we talk to Jon about some exciting developments at Lumexis, whose fiber optics-based IFE system will become the first new IFE solution offered by Boeing in 15 years when it is made ‘linefit offerable’ on the 737 this year. Jon highlights some of the positive features of this high def system including the fact that passengers get to enjoy the legroom afforded to them. He also shares his thoughts on whether embedded systems will survive a BYOD and wireless world, and talks about why the presence of inflight connectivity hasn’t hurt IFE business.
[Photo above of Chameleon economy class seats, which can be converted into bed mode.]