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  • Ashley Garris: What makes our job very challenging is

  • it's a game of inches.

  • It's fighting for every little bit of space.

  • Narrator: Airplane interiors

  • are a battleground among airlines.

  • Who can make 15 hours straight in the air most comfortable,

  • even if you're stuck in economy?

  • But comfort isn't the easiest to come by

  • flying in a metal tube 40,000 feet in the sky.

  • Alice Belcher: There are challenges because you're in

  • a very small space with a lot of people.

  • Narrator: We went on board Delta's redesigned Boeing 777

  • with the people whose job it is

  • to make flying suck a little less.

  • Delta announced the redesign of its entire 777 fleet

  • back in 2018.

  • And the airline finished updating the 18 planes in Singapore

  • in early 2020.

  • All four cabins underwent upgrades.

  • Belcher: When that 777 comes in, it has a very old interior,

  • so they rip it all out and they install everything new.

  • There is thousands of hours of engineering

  • that has to be done to install all that equipment

  • and develop the interface diagrams,

  • develop the certification documentation.

  • Narrator: While Delta has announced

  • it will retire the Boeing 777 fleet,

  • its facelift can still give us a look

  • into how designers maximize limited space on a plane.

  • This is Ashley.

  • Ashley identifies what frustrates customers on board

  • and comes up with possible solutions.

  • Garris: So, in product development,

  • we have thought about every single inch of this aircraft,

  • from the business-class cabin

  • to the size of the closets

  • to the size of the lavatories.

  • Narrator: Then engineers like Alice

  • figure out how to bring those ideas to life

  • from this fancy lab in Atlanta.

  • Belcher: What we're trying to do is figure out,

  • can we take that technologies,

  • and is it ready to be on an airplane with 281 passengers

  • at 30,000 feet flying 400 miles an hour?

  • And then if it is, what we do is we wanna execute it

  • as flawlessly as we possibly can.

  • Narrator: So, what changes did designers make?

  • We'll start with business class.

  • Garris: This whole seat has memory-foam cushioning in it.

  • It's designed to be like a mattress, basically.

  • For us, it's all about picking very careful,

  • sustainable, nonflammable materials,

  • but also making sure they're comfortable as well.

  • We also have all of our controls for the seat here.

  • What we really work on is also building spatial mock-ups

  • to really determine that every passenger of all sizes

  • is comfortable in this space here.

  • And if not, then we'll work to adjust.

  • Can we adjust the console size to make it smaller or bigger

  • and give more room here?

  • Every suite also has a fully enclosed door.

  • And if you're in the center seats,

  • then you also have a privacy divider between the two seats.

  • Every seat has a leg rest, footrest,

  • got a remote control,

  • got my nice 13.3-inch high-definition IFE screen.

  • Narrator: That in-flight-entertainment system

  • is wireless, the first of its kind in the industry.

  • It was developed in that fancy lab.

  • Belcher: This is our IFE lab.

  • What we've done with wireless seat-back IFE,

  • we eliminate the ethernet cable,

  • and by eliminating all those cables

  • that are running all over the airplane,

  • we save about a pound per seat.

  • That's about 281 pounds per aircraft.

  • Basically equates to 1,330 metric tons

  • of carbon-emission savings per year.

  • Narrator: Alice partnered with the

  • Georgia Tech Research Institute

  • to create a software system in the IFE

  • that could easily be updated with new technology.

  • Belcher: We can't set a whole airplane fleet

  • down every two years and redo it all,

  • so we have to think very innovatively.

  • It also has to last a long time.

  • These displays on an A220,

  • that thing flies eight to 12 hours a day, maybe more.

  • It could possibly be on almost that whole time.

  • We worry a lot about reliability as well.

  • Narrator: Back in Premium Select, beyond the TV,

  • there's also plugs and USB ports,

  • and a couple other tricks

  • to designing within this small space.

  • Garris: So, every seat also has a very large tray table.

  • These seats are so far apart that

  • to put a tray table here,

  • I mean, you would really be reaching.

  • So we put the tray table in the arm.

  • The back of the seat's also grooved out

  • to still give you those extra inches there

  • in your knee space.

  • This is Delta's Comfort Plus cabin.

  • We do want to create that open, airy cabin.

  • Part of that also is just the way

  • that the bins are designed, right?

  • So, they're still high enough up

  • that you have lots of space and headroom.

  • But they're big enough to be functional,

  • to hold all of our passengers' bags

  • they're bringing on board.

  • All of our passengers usually really care about storage.

  • Probably fits maybe six roller boards.

  • But if I put six roller boards in here,

  • I'm not gonna be able to close it.

  • Belcher: Delta came to us and said,

  • "Hey, we have this problem.

  • We spend a lot of money on back injuries

  • to flight attendants.

  • Can you guys think of some way to fix it?"

  • And so we were given the challenge

  • to say is there a easier, better way

  • to be able to push up these bins?

  • We partnered with a supplier in Germany

  • to come up with this electromechanical device.

  • Garris: The bin lift assist will actually click on

  • when this weight reaches 45 pounds,

  • and it will make the close force

  • like I'm closing a bin with only 35 pounds inside.

  • Narrator: Engineers also had to make the bins durable.

  • Garris: These bins are probably used, you know,

  • 500 times a year by all our passengers,

  • so that means, just, they take a beating.

  • We have to really be careful about the materials

  • that we put on board to make sure that

  • they're reliable and robust and not breaking.

  • This is really where we spend the most time.

  • I think the hardest part of an economy seat is the inches.

  • So, the industry standard on a 777 aircraft

  • is actually to put 10 seats wide.

  • Instead of squeezing in a tenth seat in each row,

  • we maintain nine.

  • Everyone hates getting that middle seat

  • on a long-haul flight, so instead of having

  • two middle seats here in the center, we only have one.

  • It's also about giving passengers things to do

  • at their seats while they're on such a long flight.

  • In the event that the passenger in front of me

  • wants to sleep and they recline their seat,

  • then my screen here tilts

  • so that I can get a better viewing angle

  • regardless of what the passenger in front of me is doing.

  • Narrator: But the design details

  • extend beyond just the seats

  • and into the whole plane.

  • They added more space in front of the lavatories

  • for people to line up.

  • Garris: Making sure the aisles are wide enough

  • so that customers can easily get their bags up and down.

  • Flight attendants can also easily

  • push the carts up and down.

  • Narrator: They also tweaked the lighting system.

  • Garris: Our full-spectrum LED lighting

  • has seven different lighting scenarios.

  • So, for your meal setting,

  • you're gonna have a nice, warm orange-red color

  • that is supposed to stimulate hunger.

  • We also have a sunset setting,

  • which is a couple minutes of transition,

  • which actually replicates a sunset on board,

  • and then it takes you to night mode.

  • As a designer, I've sat in these seats,

  • I've flown all over the world.

  • I wanna know what the experience is like,

  • and I want to know the customer pain points,

  • mainly because I've experienced them,

  • but it's also my job to try to ease those pain points.

  • Narrator: But making any changes to a fleet,

  • big or small, takes years.

  • Garris: We haven't even talked about certification yet.

  • Every single seat that you sit in

  • has been thoroughly tested to withstand an accident,

  • if that were to ever happen.

  • Every single piece on here

  • is built with all of those certifications

  • and testing before it ever goes on board.

  • Narrator: Ashley said the 777 redesign took 3 1/2 years.

  • Garris: And I would say at least 20 different teams at Delta

  • all working together.

  • Belcher: We came and we tested it.

  • We had some flight attendants come in and try it out.

  • We did the certification and the installation

  • and all the engineering so we could put it on the airplane,

  • make sure it was safe, and flew it away.

Ashley Garris: What makes our job very challenging is

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How Airplane Interiors Are Designed | Big Business

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    joey joey posted on 2021/05/26
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