How Do We Design a Passenger Cabin?


Did you know that the highest cost associated to a line-fit aircraft purchase corresponds to the engines? But whenever we board the aircraft… which is the first thing that catch our attention?Exactly, the passenger cabin!

The passenger cabin is the reason why the vast majority of airliners pursuit an outstanding attention to details in order to make the flight experience a memorable event.

The experience on board: A memorable event

Safety first. This is the motto that all of us who works in aviation incorporate as part of our DNA.

And that’s the reason why all the materials and elements that we find inside the aircraft complies with the most strict security measures.

Every plastic, coating, textile or decorative element installed onboard has been previously tested and certified undertaking the most strict aviation regulations in what safety on passenger air travel is related.

For that purpose, flammability, toxicity and smoke release criteria are specified: under no circumstances any spreading will occur in the more than improbable event of fire onboard.

Furthermore in what materials is related, some of the coatings and surfaces used especially in lavatories and seats are antimicrobial. Cleanliness, maintenance and sanitation of the cabin elements are another priority for air carriers, in which of course Iberia is utterly committed.

Undoubtedly another criteria that conditions the selection of the elements installed onboard is of course the weight: less weight, less fuel needed to propel the aircraft and therefore more savings – and less carbon footprint on the atmosphere.

And what about the services focused to the passengers attention and the experience on board?

 Passenger cabin

And what about passenger services and onboard experience? Considering the aircraft type and the routs that will be covered – short/mid haul or long range – not only seat count is relevant but other services like catering onboard; stowage space for hand luggage, emergency equipment and other amenities such as blankets and pillows; or the ratio of passenger per lavatory and class, for example.

Although it is clear that the commercial aspect plays an important role, passenger comfort and convenience is fundamental for Iberia.

The selection of the seat model together with the seat pitch would rigorously abide Iberia’s quality standards.

In the previous edition we already wrote an article about this topic, check it out!

Catering service: a fundamental service

The galleys or aircraft kitchens are maybe the less visible spot for the passenger, but essential to analyse in order to differentiate the catering service: how is this service designed? How many meals would be delivered during the flight? Would it be snacks only or full meals? Cold or warm? This topic is not insignificant.

According to that it must be specified: how many trolleys or meal carts are needed; how many ovens to heat the meals (each one can approximately fit around 30
meals and last 20 minutes to complete a cycle); the number of coffee machines… all this in order to achieve a swift and efficient service in the passenger cabin.

And even though it is non-tangible, what would be the onboard experience without connectivity? Today more than ever is necessary to have internet connection. And even not being visible for the passenger, the aircraft must be equipped with special antenas in order to deliver this service.

Likewise, having a video and entertainment system is indispensable, be it through in-seat screens or via “cloud” in which the passenger could download the content on their own devices. And of course, having USB jacks under the seat to charge them.

Which has been the most curious fact for you? Have you ever thought about the complexity that the design of an aircraft cabin (and its services) involves? Tell us which innovations would you like to experience as Iberia customer inside our fleet!


Jorge de Luis Sierra
Aircraft Interior Design Specialist ı Aviation Branding