Better seats and more privacy. This is the future of flying

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How would you improve the cabin of a plane? The awarded concepts of the 11th Crystal Cabin Award give an impression of how we will fly in the near future.

The Crystal Cabin Award 2017 for innovations in the cabin goes to Delta Air Lines, Diehl Aerospace, Global Eagle Entertainment, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW) , Vanema and – twice – to Airbus

We get some privacy

.The list of finalists for the “Cabin Concepts” category was especially glamorous this year. Honours went to Delta Air Lines for the “Delta One Suite”. Cabin areas enclosed with privacy partitions give a First Class feeling to Business Class travel. Carefully selected materials, mood lighting and technology work together to ensure an aesthetically exclusive travel experience.

Female passenger asleep in closed pod in Delta One

Less cable spaghetti

The award in the “Cabin Systems” category for 2017 went to Diehl Aerospace. The “Power Line Communication” concept promises less cable spaghetti and, as a result, a significant reduction in aircraft weight. If Diehl has its way, the power cables already present in aircraft can be used in the future to carry data as well. Ian Harbison from the specialist magazine Aircraft Cabin Management presented the prize.

Less cable spaghetti and, as a result, a significant reduction in aircraft weight.

Streaming video and more internet

The award in the “Electronic Systems” category, presented by Mary Kirby, founder of the US “Runway Girl Network” blog, was won by Global Eagle Entertainment. The US company’s entertainment system streams films, offers various on-demand platforms for series and magazines, and allows users to surf the internet on their own personal devices.

Global Eagle Entertainment

Let’s think green

Major impact with minimal materials is the key for the winner in the “Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment” category. The Airbus ReTrolley recycles and compresses passenger’s rubbish whilst it is still being pushed through the cabin. The recycler on wheels is one of the start-up projects successfully supported by the “Airbus BizLab” accelerator program. The award was presented by Peter Bishop, CEO of Hamburg-based Bishop GmbH – Aeronautical Engineers.

Recycler on wheels

No more sore butts

Vanema in collaboration with Boxmark promises relief from the unpleasantness of sitting in an aircraft for long stretches. Individual foam springs distribute the passenger’s weight evenly, adapting to the passenger. The “Octaspring” concept won the team the Crystal Cabin Award in the “Material & Components” category.

Relief from the unpleasantness of sitting in an aircraft for long stretches

Remove or add seats

Flexibility was the order of the day in the “Passenger Comfort Hardware” category, won by Airbus in collaboration with Recaro and THK for their “Smart Cabin Reconfiguration”. The innovation means that the rails for mounting aircraft seats can be repositioned by the cabin crew without any prior mechanical knowledge in response to the load factor for the flight. Seats can be removed or added in just a few simple steps. Adam Mellen from the plastic component manufacturer Boltaron presented the trophy.

Smart Cabin Reconfiguration

The smart wheelchair

All smiles and celebration for the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW): the “Smart Onboard Wheelchair” concept won the “University” category, prevailing against two competitors from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Thanks to a specially shaped seat, the wheelchair can be rolled directly over the on-board toilet, allowing the passenger to use the lavatory independently.

Thanks to a specially shaped seat, the wheelchair can be rolled directly over the on-board toilet,

About the awards

The Crystal Cabin Award trophies are presented each year as part of the “Aircraft Interiors Expo” trade fair. The award, an initiative of Hamburg Aviation, was more international and more hotly contested than ever before in its eleven year history, with 85 submissions from 21 countries in 2017. Major players in the industry were well represented, with Airbus alone having four entries make it to the final round.


The winners will personally present their concepts to the public tomorrow, Thursday, 6 April, at 10:00 a.m. in the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (Hall B3, upper level).

Images and information on the winners are available for download free of charge:

All the finalists in a Youtube playlist:

About the Crystal Cabin Award

The Crystal Cabin Award is THE international prize for innovations in the field of aircraft cabins. A high- calibre jury made up of renowned academics, engineers, specialist journalists and airline and aircraft manufacturer representatives comes together under the slogan “Let your ideas take off” to honour extraordinary cabin concepts and products. The competition was launched by Hamburg Aviation and is organised by the Crystal Cabin Award Association. The award, to date the only one of its kind, has been presented during the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg every year since 2007. The trophies have become a seal of quality, known and coveted around the world.

Press contact:

Crystal Cabin Award Association | Hamburg Aviation Lukas Kirchner
Telephone: +49 40 – 2270 1987

You can follow the Crystal Cabin Award on Hamburg Aviation’s social media channels: | |

Crystal Cabin Award Association c/o Hamburg Aviation Wexstrasse 7, D-20355 Hamburg Telephone: +49 40/2270 1987

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