DLD 238: The AIX 2019 report
Uh? You're listening to dots lines and destinations travel podcast with host Stephen Seagraves, vase moon and said Miller. Hello. And welcome to episode two thirty eight of dots lines and destinations. This is set host in this week from Humber Germany, and I'm joined by semi frequent contributor Jason Rabinowitz. We are here for the aircraft in tears that's about twenty nineteen and just spent four days learning what's going to be flying for the next forty years. And it's exciting and scary and depressing and wonderful all at the same time. So I'm going to Jason. Thank you for having me back. I have many many many emotions share about many different things we've seen this week. Would you like to start with happy, motions or sad emotions? Let's start with the happy happier is still full. So let's go with happy. All right. Let's start then with great seats. Great Z business class seats upgraded business class seats generations of business class seats. Now, you can get into details. I'm like, my own podcast, your listeners know, what the super diamond is don't they? I'd like to think so. Yeah, there's a new super diamond. Yes. And it's not called the deluxe super diamond though, it's called the. Elements as a replacement. It's the next generation product line, right? It's the super diamond engy. Yeah. And so you look at the elements eight looks a lot like super diamond by there's a few really nice improvements to it. They've changed the structure a little bit. So even with the same shoulder with at the top you've got a wider foot. Well, they've changed sort of at mid shin or mid thigh level around where your knees are. They've changed the shape of the seat a little bit. So that for side sleepers is actually a little extra room carved out there. They updated the mechanisms in such inside to deliver some of those things you can still have a door on it. Which is what the club sweets from British Airways with it was announced as wireless charging built right in. Everyone's do. Yeah. That's going to be come on like gangbusters across most of the new business celebrities that we're seeing. And how interesting concept for business class, plus with with the number of airlines saying, you know, what business classes good enough, we're not gonna have first class anymore. And we're seeing that truly an enlarged variety of airlines, and it's good news bad is depending on your point of view. But I think it's probably the way the world. It's Swiss where they have better seats on board. The throne seats charge a premium for. Yeah. And so what elements seat you could do it with super diamond probably also elements? They're actually they showed it at the show this way, they're sort of designing for this is business class. Plus in the first row and options include as everybody knows bulkhead has a much bigger foot well than the other seats on those planes. Hey, people like that. Why don't we charge extra for it? The other sort of improvements they included were a much larger television screen. So if you think about first class compared to business class typically, it's slightly upgraded food a little more space and privacy and bigger screen being. Targeted for the triple X, actually. So they're making use of that fuselage. I think the fifty two passengers forty nine inch pitch, which is pretty impressive. But I wouldn't hold your breath and seeing this on on your current triple seven's anytime soon. Yeah. Probably not eventually, maybe. But it is a really nice product. It's a solid set of improvements over the prior version of what most folks considered to be a spectacular seat. Yes. And I don't know if I said it already or not, but you definitely can still put a door on it for people who like that. I care about that. But that's different problem, saying seating. And this is one where we have to decide if it's good news or not for those of you who are stuck on airlines that twenty eight inch pitches. Good idea my condolences. But what if there's a twenty eight inch pitch seat where that didn't completely stock? Right. Where you can sit down and have space between your knees? And this rove seats in front of you cool. Right. Yeah. And it's a thing though, sorting eighty coming soon coming soon, so Maris's says a British company that designed seats they have sort of a like many manufacturers have a racing car background. And they took a big gamble on carbon-fiber as the future of seating. And they developed a product that is now flying on Air Asia. And we'll soon be flying on air Asia's line fit on their newly three twenty one Nieto's but on that's called the hawk seat. That's out there. But this kestrel product is the new it's literally three months old they they were still manufacturing the demo kit. I think a couple of weeks ago. I'm just brought to the show. So it's definitely not exactly what we're going to see when we fly. But Jason and I are both. I think I'm five eleven year six or something like that take give or take and we both sat in it. And neither are news at the row in front of us. Yeah. It's and it wasn't like there was a millimeter of space between my knee. It was a good amount of space. You could like move your arm in front of it was it was bizarre. Yeah. So it's a fixed recline, meaning no reclined, and apparently taking that mechanism out space the seat pattern is basically really been carbon-fiber. There's not much to it. It's really lightweight and still padded but still patted obviously, padding on there, you're not sitting on a bench or anything, but they did really cool to get bags on board. So there's more space under the for bags. There's some really interesting stuff going on there. And listen, I'm not gonna pretend it's a good idea for five eight ten whatever long-haul flights. But if you're in the altar low cost carrier world of hour and a half to. Hours around southeast Asia for you're only paying ten or twenty bucks. Anyways. This is I think I'd probably rather this than some of the products we've seen absolutely. Final seating portion of the show last year, we talked about there was a product. It was just introduced made a big splash the idea of putting a low deck lower birth seats in it came from Airbus San Fran. They're still talking about it. They won crystal award for that idea. So congratulations to them on that. And they're still working on the whether ideas real or not, but this is like putting bunk beds downstairs for economy class passengers working rooms or a movie theater. They showed all sorts of crazy stuff. We'll know next year. How this is. I feel like one year is a concept wrote see what sticks two years is product in development. Three years is something you really want to get out there. And we're near two now. And one of the big contentious points is will the airlines have to put a fight attended down. There fulltime to keep an eye on passengers and news today from Ingo, which is one of Airbus's head, Kevin designers know, if the pop in there every now and then and see what's what we'll see. I wonder how much of that. It depends on how many compartments there are and if their doors walls between them and what the actual facilities are. But I don't think that flight attendant visits are necessary. The biggest challenge. To certification. I think there's a lot of other things that will come along. Like, how tall is the space. And if there's there are plenty of airline aplenty, there's a couple of airlines that have lower birth labs already looped onto on their three four sixes three thirty on this cook on his retrofit three thirties. It's it is a it's actually really comfortable really nice been on them on the Thomas Cook three thirties. And there is not a ton of room to stand up. But I can't stand up in them. Not an insurmountable problem. It's just not. So you're not gonna be doing jumping jacks down there. I hope not. But also remember those are fixed permanently installed. The idea behind these births. At least originally presented was they were supposed to be modular and could easily swapped out for cargo containers. So you're gonna lose I think you're gonna loosen some headroom they are. And that's where I really start to wonder the viability of this offering. But clearly other people who are waste Marta than me, or at least paid to study the stuff much more than I do have thought through that believe that they can make it work. So we'll see I still many questions to be answered like. What you charge for three hours in a bunk down below in a flatbed kind of like bang or would you pay five hundred dollars for a three hour now? No, would you be willing? You know, how mad will you be? When the flight attendant comes by knocks on your curtain asserts time to wake up I just four sleep five minutes ago. There's a lot of and the flight attendants going to remake the beds and clean it up and contracts. They won't be doing that depends on which country you work from there's a lot of questions around all of this. I think it's it's an interesting concept. It certainly continues to generate a lot of conversations, and it's good to talk about what it is that makes travel comfortable but skeptical at blubber fly. Yeah, we'll see. So that's all for the seating section. I think entertainment and connectivity. Yes. There was some actually some good stuff out there. Last year was a little flat on the connectivity and entertainment side. But this year, there's maps and bluetooth than other fun things. I'm particularly keen on the on the bluetooth thing. But you you like the maps thing I do like the map. Let's start with maps 'cause I'm a huge fan of maps as a general rule, and apparently most passengers are as it is by far the most eyeball ours are on map and part of that is because there's like one hundred moves chew. Only one map, but people watch the map they watch it. A lot airlines are still trying to figure out if they can monetize it some do it very poorly. Some don't do it at all a couple of enders Panasonic who makes systems avionics careful there just just announced a major upgrade to their the mapping product in their default in it's called arc which I don't know if that stands for anything or has a purpose, but they sorta they semi contract out. But it's like a thing. It's a group own thing. Like that is developed by separate group of people and one of the advantages, there is massive company who can't really make progress very quickly by contracting out they did. But it's a pretty slick interface. It's still finalizing development not ready for deployment fully baked yet. But it's most the big. Yeah. And they do some interesting things like they can if you they have a thing called the companion, Singapore Airlines or someone else just added it. I forget who. But you have the app on your phone. For the airline, and one of the things you can do is sort of go through and pick your movies that you wanna watch or any number of other sort of little benefits tidy entertainment system. Then when he got a moored either skinny QR code or use the NFC in the seat, and sort of log into the system, and what they're saying that they can tie that log in to the map system as well because it's all part of the Panasonic ecosystem. And when you log in you can set preferences, like I only, you know, little things like I wanna see metric or imperial units for all the flight data or bigger things. Like, I want to be alerted when I cross a time zone. I want. You know alerts win we cross into a new country, and it can it'll just you know, you can be watching a Matt. You could be watching a movie, and it'll pop up the alert in the background saying courageous entered Austria, whatever you do with that information. But if you want to be notified shore and also interesting sort of stuff, like, you know, different views of your flight, you can say if we're flying over particular country, you can tap on that NC just that country. You wanna see the full we're out of the flight you can do that the touch in the pinch and all those things bringing it together. There's some really interesting things going on there. Not surprising that they have also talked about point of interest and monetization, where they can put pins on the map, and you can tap and get details about what the city is what the attraction is or whatever and the opportunity to integrate duty-free sales or tickets to an attraction or whatever in there. So some interesting opportunities and also depending on who you talk to though a lot of pushback about trying to monetize the map too much. So yeah, no one's doing particularly. Well, maybe you'll see a little better, Ed or something in the bottom quarter or jet blue. You'll see. Eighty percent ads and twenty percent map that are much better because that's soaks. But that that sucks anyways, see where you are. Yeah. I'm not sure it somewhere. I wanna be monetize. I don't really wanna see ads there. But I get the use case for it is just the airlines competent enough to make work. Yeah. It's gonna be interesting. And I'm not sure how much was airlines and other people, but it is definitely going to be interesting to see that place flightpath half. Three D is one of the big third party map makers. They also unveiled their new version, and they were sort of innovators leading the market in the pensions zoom and spin and swirl stuff and they're flying on Norwegian. They delta flights. If I am fifty different airlines. So there are two thousand aircraft. They've got a pretty solid install base. Their newest thing is the full three d experience including pensions zoom in a web browser. Right. And if you've ever flown the airline that has wireless, I e you know, typically, if you don't have the airlines app, your SOL, maybe you'll have some DRM free content. You can watch. But in this case, they make the full experience available browser which is pretty damn cool. Yeah. I'm really impressed by that. Have to like everything we'll have to see how it actually plays out. But I think that's a pretty strong product. And we're gonna have a good time watching that deploy on new airlines. I think they said their first customers coming later this year. Delta has the two eversion to district Norwegians is the three one of my favorite bits about that. When you look at your plane in do they show on your flying? It actually shows your plane. It's not a generic white livery or whatever they actually if you're Norwegian, they'll even show the right guy in the tailfin most of the time, that's a super cool geeky thing. Ninety nine percent of people will never notice the one percent will notice we're special. Jason. We're very special special on one percent. One percent. Bluetooth. I like, I don't I don't really like bluetooth. But like having available because like sorta don't have a choice most often tell us why what makes you so angry. What makes me angry is mostly angry kind of upset in inconveniences that apple took away your headphone, Jack. And then most every Android manufacturer. Oh, we'll do that too. So I care around air pods or whatever other bluetooth audio device he'll use and pretty much. The only time ever have to use wired headphones is on board aircraft using their embedded entertainment system. And either I will forget the stupid lightning to three point five millimeter headphone, Jack, forget those entirely, and I'll be sitting there at my air. Pas not able to actually use the entertainment system because they do not have bluetooth or do. They do that might coming soon covered. We've talked about this little bit angry. She may be talked about it at apex back September. When we first heard that like at six months ago it. Went from it's impossible to do it too. We think it's possible. And maybe we'll do it. Now, six months later. It's done. It's done all the hurdles apparently of rated just like my three and a half millimeter headphone, Jack they're gone now. So Panasonic actually has it live in the wild on a few airlines one of the Ming China Eastern, but only to an airline loan device. So it's permanently paired or pared by the flight attendants and cannot use your own bluetooth device, but they're they're working on it. They've got a few engineering things to overcome but saffron who is notice deacs by raves system, which is the if you've ever phone Iceland air or back in the day air Berlin you've seen their system. They have it's a baked into their new otros system, which is shipping soon to seven two airline, and it's a thing and it works you can use your own device. Now, we sending on the show floor in the middle of that chaotic RFL which the big challenge with this radio in recurrence stuff. On that show floor with a bunch of different things around. We still manage to pair up your air pods and watch it happen in real life. The problem engineering thing they have to overcome is bluetooth has a range of what thirty ish forty ish feet. And if you're on this little screen to your device, you have a hundred people in that thirty three feet, perhaps maybe a little less than that. Maybe fifty people whatever you're going to have to find your device in the pairing list. And it's going to be looking for my air pas, which the names might just be air pods, and it's going to get confusing to find your device in a list of a whole bunch of others. But zodiac has done some clever engineering to women the power going out to tooth chip. So it only works within a few feet to kind of pare down the interference and seemed to work. It's really nice. And so her folks who really liked their own headphones and don't want to travel with such a headphones, and certainly nothing. Anyone loves the piece of shit head. Headphones. Airlines give you or sell you on board. This is a nice development. It's shipping to seat manufacturers in rave ultra in Q three of this year, not gonna be flying till Q three of next year. But it's real and it's going to happen. So but don't count on seeing widespread for a long time all the old systems that are installed have to be end of life and replace can take a Lago and. Yeah. Yeah. One of the thing I have on the entertainment activity section is the new antennas in some ways, I feel like this was the year of the intent. We saw a whole lot of new antennas for satellite communications. And I will say that the this is completely in the weeds stuff that probably I only only I find interesting, but these are the electron estate and tenants that are solid state instead of mechanical things spinning on top of the planes. They're gonna get way better reliability because there's no moving parts they'll get super hot. So there's a lot of challenges with that, performance wise and keeping him from like screwing things up on the plane, but they're coming. I wish. Like, I said they're coming soon. We're still a couple years from seeing these installed and some surprising players in the space. So that's interesting to see how everybody is finally producing them. Somehow, they're not it's not a new technology that existed in the government and military world for some time but hasn't been practical for passenger application super expensive. And it seems people finally figured out how to get the cost down sufficiently across the board that they're really coming on. So also gonna be not critical. But I think important for the next round of satellite, launches where we've got huge constellations of excuse me low-earth orbit satellites where you're switching so frequently. There's some games you can play with getting around the need to switch instantly. But if you can just switch instantly between them, which these things can do because it's truly electrically steered. It literates like a panel of circuits, and you just tell where the satellite isn't points out. It is really slick if you can do that rather than having to spin around and flip around it's better. Yes, they don't really know how these things work, but they look cool. There's physics involved. Sort of my favorite section of the show is all the other crap that we look at and that we see, and there's the big stories are always the seats and then entertain systems because we care, but like there's so much other crap involved in airplanes, and we saw some really interesting things in the late in USB world. What did we see you a spec-? Hey. Yeah. USPS's coming in. It's coming quickly. And so is wireless charging which is a kind of a rare circumstance where the airline seating and enter taint industry is kind of not not going to say their head of the charge because another pun. Ci wireless has been around for a long time. But now that Apple's adopted it it's thing, and we're not ten years behind are. We we are not it's going to be really interesting business class only for the most part just as you need physical space on the shelf to put this could directly put it like behind the Panasonic had it built into the tray table, those astronomy. But it's not frac nor even behind the like netting CPAC but much harder thing to do. I'm just I don't know. I'm interested by it. But there's a really really. I don't I probably I don't have a phone that supports and I never thought about it. Too much needed sports. Yeah. And it's only business class. So I get excited by it. But for the rest of us who want to charge our phones with a USB cable like normal Lufthansa Technik has a new option. Oh boy. Do they ever do they ever? And so one of the challenges with installing in-flight power or NC power systems as you've gotta run wires under the floorboards wires are expensive heavy and you had a poll out to do it. You gotta mount things to the to do it. And so what if you could draw off existing wiring and not have to move any seats to get a power suspense? They'd probably be cheaper. Right. What if what if we'll never know the the very smart folks that live Technic have built a system that puts the power in? The overhead console sort of PSU panel add onto the passenger service unit buttons and air fence, hopefully overhead and literally a couple inches wide ties into the existing pow. That's all right up there for a running the lighting and all those other things and it works they managed to put three overhead. And so instead of you know, the sort of occasionally to one ten volt outlets. I triple of seats usually do enough USB for everybody and some cases more than we did actually a four for three that's in the wild. But it's overhead is much cheaper install. The actual cost of the hardware at self is lower and the cost to install it as lower. So you can see where some airlines get excited by this. But it also means that you're an wires, dangling and phones dangling we took. They showed it off with I think meter and a half cable. I have a one meter three feet and a two meter six foot cable in my bag. So we had all three hanging in the display at one point. And with the three foot one meter, which I believe is still the default cable length Annapolis shifting so it's just just barely long enough. And I'm not sure what the it also depends on the position of the overhead. Yeah. And I'm not sure we model underneath also which model bins are installed higher hollow. They go, right. If you get the Airbus XL bins their newest bins those are lower. So everything will be kosher. But with that installed and the power plug on the bottom of the phone which for the record. I h preferred on the top you or aside, I guess top. I don't care. I would prefer that. Nobody I would still prefer that. Okay. My preference is out there. This is my podcast can say whatever I want. With the power plug on the bottom, which makes it harder to get the further away you end up with the situation that just barely fits just barely get the lengthy for an adult, but it will if you stand up your phone will sort of swing pendulum still above the seats. It's all sorts of questions have been raised about certification. What happens when the flight attendant serves a meal, you have all these things hanging down or what happens? If the unlikely event that the air met, the oxygen masks are dropped you're gonna have all these wires getting in the way of Technic says they've worked through that. They will handle it. They're smart people, and they wouldn't be doing this. If they didn't think it would never be certified. Yeah. And I think part of that is just mining them up if you haven't sufficiently separated will help, but who knows? So that's enough USB. Let's talk, okay. Or more than white micro Elliott, the future of lighting here where here right in Hamburg. Okay. Sorry. I almost went down. There's a Broadway show anyway. So what you get. Micro LED Collins aerospace, product, also, and basically, the c-can is the brand name they put under they've got some really neat stuff. They're doing taking LED's and making light panels out of them, and they can do a transparent or translucent panel. They can also just do a a ceiling panel that I think they said her sort of section ceiling panels was two and a half kilos relatively live for what you know, forgiving. What it is. And they can painful pictures on them. They can do some really neat things for the entryway like entryways on the side of monument or side of a galley. They can do the ceiling panels. There's some fun things. They're fun branding rigidities unless excited about the advertising opportunities. But that's always always imply. Yeah. And when sufficiently light and easy to manage and reliable and sturdy, that's when airlines start to think about the other thing, we saw a lot of that last year in these micro LED's tiny pixels of light, essentially painting with and it's not know not talking. Retina screen resolution or anything like that. But it is pretty damn impressive. What they're putting together for billboard essentially on the plane. Yeah, you'll eventually see I feel like you'll see these micro ladies built into walls and your house, and that would be your TV. Yeah. But the other really need thing that they did is the overhead lights in the passenger service union. So typically, you know, there's three little bulbs up there, the which are incandescent they finally started switching over to LED's and a lot of cases which cuts weight improves reliability 'cause LED's out much much slower than can't essence, but you still have three of them. Right. And what this product the c-can, Mike Riley d product from Collins doing is combining all three lights into a single unit. And what they're basically putting a bunch of micro LED dots in the circuitry. And then a lens and essentially shaping the light as it comes out, and sort of projecting it in different directions. Yeah. They had a display where the light was kinda dancing. On off between each one of the seats. And it was really cool. It was a tiny little model mockup. I guess they're not ready to do that for full-scale just yet. But we'll see they announced it as a product. It's was in one of their press. Release says it seems to be a real thing not the pressure this real thing. But they're pretty conservative on that front. It's it's really interesting to me. They can also do things like when the flight when during boarding the flight attendants can turn all the lights on one of the examples. They claimed was like a sort of ABC flashing the lights to guide people out in case of an emergency like sort of follow the blinking lights to get where you're going. I'm not sure if that actually would work or help or not, but it's people freak out that the plane is like blinking them. But there's some interesting things this is just goes back to the developments in digitisation digitalization, and blah, blah, blah. So I don't know you're staying at your beer like it's almost empty worried about you got the news. There's more. There's more beer B were done talking. Oh, unless you have any other topic to like to bring up. Nope. All out. Iceland, air flying home. We are like chains. Miss mex- for the best. Yes. It did. It did. But they didn't cancel the fight. They just also good news moved us to seven five that they found somewhere. Got upgraded both links and the other thought got. Excellent. Well, thank you. Join us. If you want to find Jason online airline flyer at Twitter put an ad in front of that. If you're so inclined, and you can follow the podcast dots. Lines on Twitter or more lines dot com leaves common. Check us out on patriotic and bias, more beer and thanks for listening. They care trip.