Flying is an experience. Being in an airplane still moves many people, figuratively speaking. Nevertheless, the passenger journey is still a bumpy road, a chain of separately managed silo’s, optimised to their own targets. Flying is no longer the adventure it used to be.

In this applied research theme, we focus on the passenger and look into the contribution of each of the participants in the chain to design the best possible journey. The common denominator is the experience of the passenger, from booking the ticket (or even before, starting to orientate on his or her travel) to arriving home again after the event. That is what we call ‘The Passenger’s Journey’. This means that our research has many actors, such as mobility before flying (see the projects page), airports and airlines (including all the internal actors, like inflight services), customs, commercial parties as well as the suppliers that enable the entire process.

Inflight experience

For inflight experience, we have built an experience centre at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. In this centre, researchers and students can build, prototype, try out and further research anything that is happening inside an airplane during the flight. Zodiac Aerospace has a similar version of the lab (in Alkmaar), so we are also able to do co-research experiences inside the airplane. We are currently in the process of building an airport-lab where all processes relate to the airport can be build, prototyped and tested.

Passenger experience

One of the aspects that influences the passenger experience is the cabin interior design, and its effects on comfort, performance and health. Therefore, a number of research and education projects specifically focus on aspects such as seat design, for example how to design a seat based on a human contour or how seats can improve ingress/egress for elderly passengers. Other areas of investigation are: inflight service routines, galley design, intensive care units aboard, future concepts for flying such as blended wing body layouts etc.

Research in the aviation experience centre is always done in cooperation with business partners, that are willing to share their expertise, are on the lookout for a fresh perspective, new knowledge and see the benefit of the cooperation.