Move aimed at differentiating first-class from latest generation business-class products

Boeing and EADS Sogerma Services unveiled concepts aimed at distinguishing elite first class from business class at last week's Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany.

Sogerma's Bordeaux-based cabin interiors and completion division is developing its "Privacy Space Concept" for ultra-long-range aircraft, featuring individual cabins with a seat and table, storage lockers, entertainment system and even a steam bath. The concept, developed with Paris-based aircraft interior specialist Pierrejean Design Studio, is designed to provide increased product differentiation compared with business- and first-class seats.

The cabin's most unusual feature is its hammam-style upright steam bath. Sealed behind a sliding glass door, the passenger is bathed in steam and dried by air jets. Water run off is recycled, so the aircraft's water supply is not affected. According to Jacques Pierrejean's concept, the seat would be fully dressed with bedding and could be laid flat to form a full-length sleeping berth.

Sogerma believes airlines would only want to put a handful of these private cabins on aircraft. The 2m (80in) cabin length is "no longer than current first-class seat pitch," says Sogerma, and four cabins would fit across an Airbus A340 cross-section.

Sogerma insists the design is merely a concept "to promote discussions with customers on future long-range cabin arrangements", but points out that it is feasible with today's technology.

Boeing, meanwhile, was showing the fruits of its Payloads Concepts Center, a six-person team tasked with designing "female-friendly" aircraft lavatories. The DreamLav concept, which Boeing displayed to customers at the Hamburg show, is a spacious 1.37 x 1.22m cubicle, featuring a self-cleaning toilet, shelving and toiletry cabinets and "intelligent" user-cued lighting system.

Alan Anderson, Boeing payloads chief engineer, says the concept is "not a product proposal, but a concept to show what's possible". He says Boeing toilet manufacturers have been shown the design and are investigating the technology required to realise it. Boeing also displayed distinct male/female toilet area layouts designed for the rear of a 777 cabin.

Source: Flight International