Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology.

“Suppose all the information stored on computers everywhere were linked. Suppose I could program my computer to create a space in which everything could be linked to everything.” So speculated Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.

In 1989 the world’s largest physics laboratory, CERN, was a hive of ideas and information stored on multiple incompatible computers. Tim Berners-Lee envisioned a unifying structure for linking information across different computers, and wrote a proposal in March 1989 called “Information Management: A Proposal”. By 1991 this vision of universal connectivity had become the World Wide Web.

The past 30 years have seen the internet leave the halls (and tunnels) of academia and ubiquitously penetrate all aspects of our daily lives, including in-flight.

By 2024, the total number of commercial flights with Wi-Fi services onboard is expected to reach 22,000. This covers all aspects of activity from sending/receiving emails, checking social media, internet browsing and content streaming.

With smartphone adoption creeping up to around 80% by the mid-2020s, annual passenger traffic continuing to expand, the provision of in-flight Wi-Fi is set to personalise flying further. And then there’s the many operational, performance, and crew benefits in-fight connectivity brings.

It is a topic of conflicting debate – the screen time/sleep deprivation correlation, but today is World Sleep Day.

Research via the UK’s National Sleep Foundation (NSF) suggests that lack of sleep can have a negative impact on emotion and productivity – a loss of sleep could be costing the UK £40 billion annually.

It’s nice to see that the likes of Qatar Airways and British Airways are continuing to invest in sleep and comfort. Whether it’s Qatar’s new economy class seat with 19-degree recline system and additional legroom, or BA’s provision of a new luxurious 400 thread count bedding, accompanied by a foam fibre mattress topper (customers will also receive a stylish new day blanket and bolster cushion), as we spend about a third of our lives asleep, our cabin experience just got that little bit comfier.

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