Improving the comfort, health and wellbeing of passengers onboard

Passenger Experience Week returns to Hamburg from 1-4 April 2019 to showcase the latest innovations to enhance the passenger experience

Global forecasts from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reveal that air passenger numbers will nearly double over the next 20 years, growing from 3.8 billion in 2016 to 8.2 billion by 2037[1]. These rising numbers, combined with increasing long-haul flight times and new Government charters[2] designed to improve the passenger experience, mean passenger comfort, health and wellbeing are now essential for operators looking to improve the onboard experience.

And it is not just the aviation industry reassessing the customer experience, with both the rail and cruise sectors experiencing soaring numbers. Global rail passengers are expected to grow at an average rate of 5% annually to 2025[3], while the cruise industry is the fastest-growing category in the leisure travel market, with demand for cruising up 20.5% since 2013[4].

Helping air, rail and cruise professionals understand how to differentiate their services and cater to the physical and emotional needs of a plethora of traveller profiles, Passenger Experience Week 2019 returns to Hamburg from 1-4 April consisting of four leading events sharing one goal – to shine a light on the latest innovations and services available to enhance the travel experience and improve the onboard comfort and wellbeing of passengers.

Shaping the cabin design of the future
From the latest seat designs to soft interior solutions, in-flight entertainment and communications (IFEC), galleys and galley equipment, lavatories and cabin lighting, exhibitors at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), the longest-running show in the Passenger Experience Week portfolio, will highlight the latest innovations shaping the cabin design of the future when it returns to mark its 20th anniversary in 2019.

With leading seat manufacturers present, attendees will be able to discover the latest seat configurations from Safran SA; Recaro Aircraft Seating GmbH & Co. KG; STELIA Aerospace; and Adient Aerospace, which will showcase its Ascent Business Class for customer viewing at the show.

Further demonstrating the importance of innovative interior design and its ability to improve wellbeing onboard, Lantal Textiles AG will present its Pneumatic Comfort System (PCS), which replaces conventional seat foams with air-filled cushions, complete with integrated massage function to aid relaxation.

Examples of how cabin interiors can improve the comfort, health and wellbeing of passengers will also be explored by returning exhibitor Panasonic Avionics Corporation. The company recently launched its Wellness range of options for its NEXT platform, offering active noise cancelling, premium seat lighting and Panasonic’s Nanoe technology solutions to enhance the flying experience. It is also developing new wellness applications in collaboration with experts including Detalytics, a provider of health-related AI services, and Mimi Hearing Technologies, an advanced audio enhancing algorithms specialist.

David Bartlett, CTO of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “These features are just the beginning of a wide range of technology, services and content that Panasonic will be rolling out in the near future. New features will draw from partners in the health, wellness and biometric industries, in addition to Panasonic’s significant investment and offerings in consumer wellness solutions.

Using technology to create a seamless journey
Technology is also impacting the onboard offer, with pre-ordering apps for customised meals and food service offers from local or airport restaurant chains becoming increasingly popular. Accessibility to retail services have also improved, enabling passengers to view products through an augmented reality (AR) interface and choose items onboard from the comfort of their seat for home delivery.

A diverse array of technology designed to revolutionise the passenger experience will make its debut at Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS). With 45% of consumers travelling by air opting for biometric identification, and as mobile apps become the communication of choice for flight delay and baggage notifications[5], the air, rail and cruise sectors will find solutions that connect every touchpoint on the passenger journey.

From blockchain, biometrics, AR and machine learning to mobile apps and artificial intelligence (AI), exhibitors at PTS 2019 will demonstrate the latest advancements in software technology enhancing the air, rail and cruise sectors, while the show’s new hackathon – PaxTech Hack – is expected to bring together teams of international developers, designers and marketers to create revolutionary new solutions to improve the end-to-end passenger experience.

Putting wellbeing on the menu
However passengers choose to purchase onboard retail gifts or order inflight meals, the product offer itself must align with the latest consumer trends. For example, meat-free, vegan alternatives or functional foods that deliver additional or enhanced benefits over and above their basic nutritional value are changing the face of onboard menus. As a result, exhibitors at the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) will demonstrate how operators are catering to consumer demand for healthy alternatives.

I Love Snacks will entice visitors with its healthy snack range, which includes Italian Olives, Almonds, Mixed Nuts, Mango and Dark Chocolate in easy-to-open pouches. It will also promote its sea salt and sweet chilli rice chips, which are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans, and are Halal certified. First-time exhibitor Chum Fruit Bites will also introduce its high-fibre, 100% natural fruit vegan and kosher snack range.

Further enhancing passenger comfort onboard, visitors can source suppliers for new blankets, sleepwear, amenity kits and noise-cancelling headphones, as well as products designed to remedy dehydration. Phizz, which launched at WTCE two years ago returns in 2019 for its third year, will showcase its successful dual formulation effervescent tablets, ranked as number one in its category on Amazon UK, and today found in Emirates First Class amenity kits.

PEC 2019: Addressing future trends for passenger comfort
While exhibitors on the show floor present the latest products and innovations, the Passenger Experience Conference (1 April) will create a platform for air, rail and cruise professionals to network and discover future trends that will enable them to improve passenger comfort and wellbeing.

Addressing the importance of sleep onboard, John Tighe, Design Director of JPA, will explore how technology and thoughtful design can help promote sleep throughout the experience. He will also explain the role of digital wellness solutions to set operators apart and deliver outstanding personalisation.

In addition to assessing the importance of rest onboard, the conference will look at innovative ways of enhancing the cabin environment and travel experience. Topics will address how to solve spacial puzzles with an exclusive look at Bombardier’s Atmosphère cabin, and the role music can play to tap into passenger emotions to inspire and build brand loyalty. Inclusivity will also be the focus of a panel discussion when representatives from ATR, Flying Disabled, Virgin Atlantic, tangerine and BlueBox Aviation address the innovative solutions that work for any passenger profile.

Together, AIX, WTCE, PTS and PEC, which make up Passenger Experience Week, provide a platform that enables those responsible for cabin design, in-flight entertainment, connectivity, technology, passenger comfort, travel catering and onboard retail to deliver on the demands of the 21st century passenger.

For more information and to register to attend Passenger Experience Week – comprising Aircraft Interiors Expo, World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo, Passenger Technology Solutions and the Passenger Experience Conference – please visit


[5] International Air Transport Association 2018 Global Passenger Survey