The Internet of Things will reach aircraft and might ease cabin crew members’ tasks. Your seat will be connected to a system that will show the crew information about you and the cabin at a glance. This is part of plane maker Airbus’ Skywise system. It is a digital, hyper-connected and secure platform that enables users to optimize and predict everything from engineering and maintenance to flight operations.
The results of the system include fewer operational interruptions, lower fuel burn, generally improved efficiency, and - in an optimistic scenario - a reduced workload for crews. Thus, it will enable airlines to save on the 2 largest cost categories: fuel and labor. Having fewer flight attendants on each flight implies a potentially significant cut down on labor cost.
Carriers will undoubtedly reduce the cabin crews’ size, so flight attendants’ workload will not be reduced. In practice it may even lead to a higher workload for crew members and a reduced service on board. Experience will show.
Sensors in seats
Imagine that sensors will be installed in seats that are connected to the system. Then cabin crew will no longer need to walk down the aisle to check whether a few hundred passengers have buckled up. They can simply look at their tablets showing those passengers who didn’t. Thus, they can limit themselves to telling them to buckle up.
The technology already exists as every motorist knows. If you forget to use the seat belt in your car, you will be alerted by a signal. The same technology can be used in planes in an array of variants.
You may think of trolleys self-checking the number of items still in stock, so that the crew will also be relieved from this task. Ground caterers can put a refilled trolley in the galley. And the galley will automatically know its content and whether it is in the right spot.
Order online on board
Passengers would be able to order items online, while the crew can deliver them to their seats. Moreover, if they run out of a particular item mid-flight, they can delete that option from the menu.
Overhead bins can also be connected to the system allowing the crew to see on their tablets which bins are full and which still have room for bags.
The future is rapidly nearing. Airbus’ target is to have the system up and running on planes of the A320 family by the end of 2021. In the following 2-3 years the plan is to roll out the system on larger planes, such as the A330s and A350s.
Tags: Internet of Things, Airbus Skywise, sensors in seats