Celebrating innovation in cabin solutions and onboard products, the Crystal Cabin Award ceremony returned to Hamburg, giving an insight into how cabins could be equipped in future.

Presented as part of Aircraft Interiors Expo, the awards set another new record for submissions this year with more than 100 entries from 22 countries.

In the ‘Cabin Concepts’ category, Airbus took the top spot with its ‘Lower Deck Pax Experience’ modules. The OEM created flexible compartments for the area typically used for cargo where beds, lounges and even play areas could be created.

In the ‘Passenger Comfort Hardware’ category, Recaro came out on top with a long-haul seat aiming to make economy class travel more comfortable thanks to its neck support and adjustable cushioning for the seat and backrest.

Collins Aerospace took the award for ‘Cabin Systems’ with a solution for exploiting unused space for passenger service with the ‘Flex Duet’, a self-service drinks and food kiosk that can be folded out in front of the aircraft door during cruising flight. Collins Aerospace also took the prize in the ‘Materials & Components’ category with the ‘uLED Reading Light’ which can project almost any shape of light beam, providing targeted light for reading at several seats at the same time.

In the ‘In-flight entertainment and connectivity’ award, United Airlines took the trophy for ‘Entertainment for All’ with its large displays and voice recognition capabilities making the the IFE system a more accessible and personal experience for passengers.

Thomas Jarzombek, German federal government co-ordinator for aerospace policy, presented the trophy for the ‘Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment’ category to Air New Zealand. The airline’s ‘Skycouch’ solution, which allows an economy seating row to be transformed into a bed surface, has been on the market for some years – now special safety belts in the winning concept mean babies and infants can lie safely on the folding bed.

Sahngseok Lee from Hongik University in Korea won the ‘University’ category with the ‘1 for All’ concept, designed in collaboration with seating manufacturer Adient. Various seating classes are nested together in a tetris-like arrangement and connected by stairs aiming to create the best possible use of space.

Looking to the future, the ‘Visionary Concepts’ category was won by Paperclip Design for its ‘Peacock Suites’ which offer a variable configuration of first class cabins as required, from family compartments with a bunk bed to a three-room luxury suite.

“With Airbus, Lufthansa Technik and Hamburg Airport as well as many suppliers and research facilities, Hamburg is one of the largest and most important locations for civil aviation worldwide. The idea for the Crystal Cabin Award was born 13 years ago in our city. The competition honours intelligent and forward-looking innovation in cabin interiors and thus promotes comfort and technological progress in aviation,” says Hamburg’s First Mayor Dr Peter Tschentscher.

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