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2022 Crystal Cabin Awards
Photograph: Lufthansa Tecknik / 2022 Crystal Cabin Awards

Could these extravagant cabin designs be the future of air travel?

From double-decker booths to immersive screening rooms, here’s what flying might look like in years to come

Sophie Dickinson
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Sophie Dickinson
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For most travellers, airplane cabin design isn’t a priority when it comes to flying. Planes are just a way to get from A to B, after all. But all that may change if these cabins prove to be the future of air travel.

They were all shortlisted in the 2022 Crystal Cabin Awards, which showcase the most eye-popping and extravagant innovations in the aviation sector. One of them is this ‘double-decker’ cabin, by MMILLENNIUMM, where passengers can hang out in their own booths and go to sleep in a comfy bed directly above their seat.

2022 Crystal Cabin Awards
Photograph: MMILLENNIUMM AirSleeper / 2022 Crystal Cabin Awards

Another shortlisted entry is from Lufthansa Technik, an offshoot of Germany’s national airline. Forget peering at a tiny seat-back screen, their idea involves images and videos being projected all over the ceilings and walls. Their blueprint has the whole plane lit up like it’s an underwater reef, which is pretty cool.

Virgin Atlantic, meanwhile, has already installed its chic ‘The Booth’ design in some of its ‘upper class’ cabins. Passengers can recline in a private, loung-style couch for two, surrounded by interactive touch screens – a bit like an airborne karaoke booth. And if that’s not your style? These breezy, bamboo-lined cabins from Teague might well be.

2022 Crystal Cabin Awards
Photograph: Teague Elevate / 2022 Crystal Cabin Awards

It’s not all about fancy seating arrangements, though. Other nominees focus on sustainability, by creating interiors out of recycled airline cushions, or using AI to reduce food waste. And manufacturing firm Pexco Aerospace has created a new air-flow system which circulates air in a much more hygienic way. No matter which entry wins, we’ll never look at a basic cabin the same way again. 

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