Sunday, January 24, 2010

Airborne Hotel Main Characteristics

The Airborne Hotel (AbH) concept (U.S. patent #6056239) is an innovative seating system for wide-body aircraft that effectively redistributes the available cabin space, ensuring a fully-reclining seat-bed for every passenger on board, without affecting passenger capacity in aircraft and, thus, the bottom line.

Below is a brief overview of the concept's main characteristics and features.

-Maximum use of cabin space.
The AbH concept’s functionality is based on the bi-level configuration of its seating modules.

By taking full advantage of the vertical space available in aircraft cabins, the AbH system essentially adds a third dimension to the passenger cabin; this allows for an optimal utilization of the otherwise empty overhead space, thereby attaining equal or superior passenger capacity ratios than any conventional seating arrangement, while providing far more individual room for every passenger.

-Three circulation aisles.
This unique feature makes for space-efficient layouts that use all the available cabin space—from floor to ceiling—while still providing direct access to every modular passenger unit (single or double), and increasing the aisles’ circulation capacity by as much as 50%—a factor that can help make boarding and disembarking more efficient.

Plus, in AbH layouts up to 70% of economy class seats are directly next to an aisle, compared to approximately 40% in conventional cabin configurations—an increase of up to 80% in aisle seats.

-Strong/lightweight construction.
AbH units are designed to be built using state-of-the-art reinforced plastic composite materials, in order to create a solid, yet light and flexible structure that can be firmly attached to the aircraft's structural elements at various points.

Each module is designed to weigh roughly the same as the conventional seat cabin section it substitutes; this is possible because of the modules’ honeycomb-like structure, which allows for multiple points of anchoring and fastening to the aircraft’s fuselage, thus enabling the use of lighter, yet highly resistant materials.

-Single and double seat-bed modular units.

The AbH system features single and double seat-bed modular units; double seat-bed units are designed so that each seat-bed can be operated independently, and both types of units always have direct access to an aisle.

-Special accommodations.
All lower-level, single seat-bed units—especially those next to the windows—are ideal accommodations for passengers with special needs, such as senior or handicapped persons, as well as pregnant women or mothers traveling with small babies. Single seat-bed units located next to the windows provide a special niche—between the seat and the fuselage—which can fit a crib safely away from aisle traffic; this niche can also be a convenient space in which to place articles such as a wheelchair or crutches.

-Adjustable independent seat-bed.
A foldout mechanism enables seat-beds to be adjusted manually and independently, without crew assistance being necessary.
Additionally, every upper-level passenger unit is designed to be equipped with an armrest that slides along with the adjustable seat-bed's cushions to become a safety rail when seat-beds are set in the bed mode. As an added benefit for passenger safety, AbH’s modular structure allows for seats to be fitted with sturdy three-point adjustable seatbelts.

-Fixed integrated ladders and handgrips.
A ladder is integrated to every set of modules in order for travelers occupying upper-level units to be able to enter or abandon their modules safely and without crew assistance. The ladders feature ergonomically designed handgrips, skid-resistant materials and lighting; plus, they are designed so as not to invade the aisles’ space, as they are fully integrated to each module’s interior space.

-Integrated personal carry-on baggage compartment.
Each unit features a personal hand baggage compartment conveniently located in front of every passenger. This compartment is designed to provide ample stowage for carry-on baggage and personal items in a closed, individual container that is within arm reach of each passenger, eliminating the need for passengers to abandon their seats to get items from their carry-on baggage. The compartments’ structure also encloses part of the comfort, safety and entertainment equipment provided in each unit for passenger use.

-Extra space for carry-on baggage.
Closed compartments for additional stowage space are located directly above the single seat-bed units at both sides of the cabin—next to the windows. These extra compartments ensure that AbH configurations match, and even surpass, stowage capacity attained by conventional stowage bins.
Another benefit in AbH cabins is that passengers do not need to lift their baggage quite as high as they do in conventional cabins in order to reach the baggage bins.

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