Travel

Coming soon to an airplane near you: First class cabins, personal care for kids, and 'saddles'

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Key Points
  • At the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, over 500 exhibitors demonstrated the latest in travel amenities.
  • New innovations included cabins for first class, personal kits for kids, and seat designs that increase the number of passengers on a plane.
Cargo sleeping berth mock-up.
Source: Airbus

Hundreds of new inventions could soon affect your comfort and experience on an airplane.

At the annual exhibition known as the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg earlier this month, more than 550 exhibitors put the latest in travel creature comforts on display. Products ranged from tricked-out first class cabins to economy seats that let air carriers squeeze in more passengers.

CNBC was on hand to take a look at some of the concepts that stood out, and identify what might be different on your next trip out of town.

Double duty for airplane cargo holds

Rebel Aero's booster seat for airplanes.
Harriet Baskas | CNBC

In the future, economy class passengers who want to stretch out for a nap may be able to do so in a sleeping bunk in an airplane cargo hold. Plane manufacturer Airbus and Zodiac Aerospace shared their design for modules with sleeping berths (which double as work and plays areas) that would be easily interchangeable. The containers fit into the cargo hold of an A330 aircraft.

First class cabins – with zones

The Day/Night first class cabin designed by Airbus Interiors.
Source: Airbus

With its "Day & Night" concept, Airbus Interiors Services is proposing a twist on the First Class cabin suite. The 'day' zone has a premium seat with a work/dining table and an inflight entertainment screen. The suite's 'night' zone is separated by a partition, has a full length bed, storage space and another entertainment screen. Two suites can be also be joined together.

Really see where you'll be sitting

Award-winning software offers 3D seat mapping for airplanes
Source: Renacen

Renacen's 3D SeatMapVR software offers passengers a 3D 360-degree view of the airline cabin during the booking process. Taking airline seat maps and the advice offered by sites such as SeatGuru a step forward, the product can help airlines sell more emergency exit and other special seats. It can also help reduce the number of complaints, because "customers can really feel the difference between one seat and another," Renacen has said.

Award-winning amenity kits – for kids

Award-winning Singapore Airlines amenity kit for kids.
Source: Buzz

Courtesy of Australian firm BUZZ, personal care kits (some quite swanky) are among the perks passengers in the business and first class cabins might find on Singapore Airlines.

A separate line of award-winning kids' kits created by BUZZ offers everything from games and toys to stationary and things to build, with licensed products from Disney (including Star Wars), Pixar and Marvel characters.

Seats or saddles?

Controversial ‘Skyrider’ seat by Avionteriors.
Harriet Baskas | CNBC

One of the most surprising – and controversial – displays in Hamburg was the Siderider 2.0 by Italian design firm Aviointeriors. A slightly more padded version of a model first floated in 2010, the Siderider would allow airlines to squeeze many more passengers into an economy cabin. It offers seats featuring an abbreviated saddle-shaped perch instead of a full cushion.