A London-based studio has unveiled a design concept for both economy and business class aircraft cabins, giving passengers an insight into what air travel could look in a pandemic world.

Pure Skies is a new aircraft cabin design concept from PriestmanGoode that aims to "future-proof" against potential new pandemics and help reduce passenger anxiety, improve personal space and hygiene, and facilitate touch-free journeys. Features include seats with ink that reacts to cleaning methods by changing color to purple to indicate they've been cleaned. The color settles to soothing peach and yellow tones once the flight takes off. The team has also introduced the idea of ultraviolet light and heat to clean the cabin pre-boarding.

Interior cabin of economy class using personal devices for in-flight entertainment
In-flight entertainment screens have been swapped out for passengers' personal devices ©PriestmanGoode

The team said they focused on how space in economy cabins had become too compromised and explored how "a total re-think of seat features and cabin layout might lead to an improved passenger experience." Other notable design features include large dividing screens to allow for greater separation between passengers and gapless seat shells in economy to eliminate dirt traps where viruses could hide. 

Pure Skies clip-on dining tray with coffee and croissant resting on it
Clip-on trays will be provided to passengers direct from the dining trolley ©PriestmanGoode

PriestmanGoode divides its new cabin into two areas – Pure Skies Rooms (business class) and Pure Skies Zones (economy class). In Rooms, each seat is a fully enclosed personal space, partitioned by full-length curtains. In Zones staggered seat configuration maximizes personal space and allows passengers to sit with the group they are traveling in. Entertainment screens have been eliminated in favor of passengers own personal devices, such as iPads or smartphones, to eliminate touch points. The often unhygienic back-seat tray is swapped out for a clip-on meal tray that's provided to each passenger direct from the dining trolley.

Business class seat on an airline cabin with a full-length curtain divider
Business class is now 'Pure Skies Room' with full-length curtains to allow for more personal space ©PriestmanGoode

Nigel Goode, co-founding Director at PriestmanGoode said: "we’ve looked ahead to imagine future scenarios and taken into account new passenger behaviors driven by the global pandemic to ensure our designs can be implemented within a few years and will meet user and airline requirements for many years ahead.”

"With both passengers and airline employees at the heart of this project, we have not only taken on board present anxieties but also tried to ensure our solutions are future-proofed against future pandemics, recognizing the significant commitment and investment involved."

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