This story was originally published in the March/April issue of APEX Experience magazine.
Bring-your-own device entertainment has airlines and manufacturers searching for hands-free viewing solutions. Innovators have proven resourceful. Ahead of next week’s Aircraft Interiors Expo, we look at concepts from Zodiac, B/E Aerospace, BAE Systems, Lufthansa Technik, Skycast Solutions and more.
Monarch Airlines introduced new seats with tablet-sized slots molded into hard-shell backs. Passengers can simply slide and secure their devices in place to create their own seat-embedded in-flight entertainment system. British Airways selected a similar hard-shell solution for its new Euro Traveller regional interiors, featuring a top-loading slot that fixes the tablet at eye level.
On Recaro’s economy model BL3530 seat, a fixed bracket and grooved shelf hold devices in place. At Aircraft Interiors Expo last year, the model also featured an elastic strap that holds short devices. Similar clamp-based concepts have hit the market from Zodiac and B/E Aerospace. BAE Systems’ IntelliCabin solution involves Samsung Galaxy tablets affixed to the back of the seat with extended brackets, while less high-tech solutions, such as Kanar Technologies’ pouch, offer a flexible way to accommodate devices.
Safety regulations limit the use of seatback BYOD solutions to the cruising phase of the flight to avoid head-impact injuries. Lufthansa Technik collaborated with ZIM Flugsitz to pass Head Injury Criterion testing for its backrest mounted Utility Shelf, so that entertainment can be enjoyed gate-to-gate. The development was introduced on Qantas to hold iPads the airline offers its customers. The Utility Shelf allows for a pivoting viewing angle and can be used to hold smartphones, tablets, eReaders – even analog books.
TRAY TABLE MOUNTS
Seat trays are popular alternatives for passenger device mounts, offered by industry suppliers and inventive independents. Recaro’s hybrid tray-tablet solution uses a hinge at the back and a tab on the top of the tray table to secure tablets in flight. Acro introduced space-saving tray tables to its Superlight ST (Small Table) fixed back seats that can hold a tablet upright, leaving room for a light snack and beverage. Airbus subsidiary Stelia Aerospace also joined the list of vendors, debuting a tablet-friendly table on its Solstys seat last year.
United Airlines’ new custom premium seats, designed by PriestmanGoode and manufactured by Zodiac Aerospace, feature a tab built into the tray table that can hold tablets and smartphones upright while leaving space for dining. It’s tucked flush into the table surface when the device is not being used.
Skycast Solutions offers two lightweight TabCaddy alternatives: a tray clip to hold the device and a device frame, designed for various seat designs. Both solutions allow for viewing while dining. Bringing two tech essentials together, SmartTray and Astronics have partnered to deliver tray table tab-clip solutions that let users enjoy content and charge their devices, leaving room to spare for paperwork or a meal. Taking convenience one step further, the partners introduced a device-friendly tray table that offers wireless inductive charging.