Flexibility (Lee/Rinne/Gough/Aronov)_1

From left to right: Dan Aronov, Napaway Coach; Rosalyn Gough, Thomas Cooke Airlines Group; Lars Rinne and James Lee, Paperclip Design. Image: Maxim Sergieko

APEX Insight: Hong Kong-based Paperclip Design unveiled a new first-class seating concept for wide-body aircraft at the Passenger Experience Conference today. Based on a LOPA (layout of passenger accommodations) with herringbone seats, the Peacock Suite concept incorporates the transition space between business and first class to create semicircular suites with up to three private rooms, using partitions and curtains. It can accommodate everyone from a family of four to the “rich and famous,” James Lee, director of Paperclip Design, said.

Paperclip, best known for its Crystal Cabin Award-winning convertible Butterfly seating concept, today unveiled another convertible seating concept: the Peacock Suite.

The Peacock concept is a first-class product for wide-body aircraft. Based on a LOPA (layout of passenger accommodations) with herringbone seats, the Peacock Suite concept incorporates the transition space between business and first class to create semicircular suites with up to three private rooms using partitions and curtains. It can accommodate everyone from a family of four to the “rich and famous,” James Lee, director of Paperclip Design, said.

After his talk, Lee was joined by other experts including his partner Lars Rinne, Paperclip’s director of Business Development, who reminded the audience that flexibility isn’t just a design trend, but a strategy that could benefit all departments. “Flexibility isn’t only something you see from product or operations people … We also need to talk to finance people and people from the strategy side. It’s the combination of everything together that will help us find the best solutions.”

“If you aren’t flexible, you will die.” – James Lee, Paperclip Design

Despite criticism that convertible seating may not be the best solution for the commercial airline business given how complex revenue management systems can be, Rinne says, “That’s just not true, we have met with consultants and they tell us these systems are absolutely capable of selling variables.”

Before the floor opened up to a panel on the topic of flexibility in all its permutations – from finance and airline operations to amenities and seating, Lee warned Passenger Experience Conference attendees that, “If you aren’t flexible, you will die.” To illustrate, Lee cited research he conducted using FlightRadar24, during which he followed one American Airlines aircraft for an entire week and saw that “it went literally everywhere in one week, and to all different markets,” including within North America, where less than one percent of people buy business-class seats, and on transatlantic routes, where this figure is closer to 15 percent. Adopting convertible seating configurations, he said, opens up opportunities for upgrades and upsells, as well as for deconstructing premium seating for additional economy passengers.

 

Valerie is deputy editor at APEX Media.