It's going to be a long time until air travel feels normal again, but it's also likely that many of us will have to travel before a vaccine is widely adopted. So in the meantime, airlines are looking at innovative ways to make travellers feel safer on planes.
A report released in May outlined some of the precautions airlines have already introduced, for example:
Many of the ideas for changes to cabin design involve a physical barrier between passengers. This helps enforce social distancing while doubling as a visual reminder of the precautions put in place to make us feel safe.
The most common of these being dividers between each seat, with variances in shape and material. These ones by Autostop Aviation have already undergone flight trials and could be inserted relatively easily.
Airflow down the cabin could be disrupted by fitting Jamco America’s Soft Divider, a leather-wrapped eyebrow-type hanging class divider for single-aisle aircraft. The simple design has a larger surface area than Jamco’s previous hanging dividers, which could potentially reduce the spread of germs, as well as creating an additional visual and physical separation between the passengers either side of the unit.
A rather more extreme approach has been taken by Stuttgart-based Design and Science Lab, which has created a concept for a physical, sealed barrier between passengers. The design is a full cocoon that fits over an aircraft seat and its occupant, keeping them completely isolated in the cabin.
If you'd like to peruse more of the potential airplane cabin design innovations being developed in response to COVID-19, Aircraft Interiors International has a great round-up.