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Take a look at 4 airline cabin concepts aiming to revolutionize air travel including a bunk-style bed in economy and a minibar in business class

Air New Zealand Skynest with a flight attendant wearing purple and black looking inside.
The crew will change the bedding between each booking.Air New Zealand
  • The 2023 Crystal Cabin Awards has announced 21 finalists for its annual recognition of cabin innovation.

  • Of the finalists, four standouts have built new concepts focused on passenger and crew comfort.

  • These include a bunk-style economy "Skynest" and heated business class seats.

The Crystal Cabin Awards is an annual ceremony recognizing innovative aircraft interior concepts. These can include everything from more spacious seats to a fire-resistant cargo container.

Designs are judged across several categories that focus on things like passenger comfort, sustainability, and health and safety.

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One of the more interesting topics for customers is improvements to the seats themselves.

Last year's "cabin concepts" winner created a narrowbody business cabin using "floating furniture" attached to the fuselage walls. The goal is to give the seat a "freer" and "more immersive" feel.

This year, the Crystal Cabin Awards has announced 21 total finalists across all categories and the winners will be announced on June 6.

Out of the finalists, four standouts reimagine passenger and crew comfort with new and unique seat designs — take a look.

Likely to not much surprise, Air New Zealand's one-of-a-kind "Skynest" is a frontrunner in the "cabin concepts" category.

The Skynest stairs.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Announced in June 2022, the design is a set of six bunk beds in economy class to give travelers more lie-flat sleep options.

Air New Zealand's Skynest bed.
Taylor Rains/Insider

I tried Air New Zealand's one-of-a-kind Skynest and found the cozy bunk bed to be a great sleep option for economy passengers

The "Skynest" will be introduced on ANZ's Boeing 787 jets by September 2024 and will complement the carrier's fan-favorite "Skycouch," which is a row of three economy seats that converts into a bed.

A promotional-style image of passengers with blankets pulled over their legs and pillows reclining on "Skycouches."
The "Skycouches" can be cheaper than airline premium economy seating, which typically offers more legroom and better food, but doesn't lie flat.Air New Zealand

I flew on the world's 4th longest flight in a 'Skycouch' — an economy seat that converts into a bed — and it was a lifesaver on the 16-hour journey

Also impressing judges is Lufthansa's new long-haul passenger experience called "Allegris."

Lufthansa
Lufthansa's new business class front row suite, which falls under the "cabin concepts" category.Lufthansa

The product line will allow customers to choose from 14 different seat types across all four travel classes — economy, premium economy, business, and first.

Lufthansa new Allegris first-class suites: Interior photo showing the seating and a large TV screen
Lufthansa's Allegris first class seat.Lufthansa

Source: Allegris

Each seat will focus on a different personal preference, like sleep, work, enjoyment, and entertainment.

A photo of the premium economy seats in Lufthansa's new Allegris layout planes.
Lufthansa Allegris premium economy seat.Lufthansa

Source: Allegris

Lufthansa said there will be options like double suites. Moreover, unique perks like in-seat heating and cooling will also be featured.

Lufthansa new Allegris first-class suites: Interior photo showing a double bed
Lufthansa Allegris double bed.Lufthansa

Source: Allegris

While it sounds complicated, Lufthansa maintains the booking process will be understandable thanks to the seating plans available to customers.

Lufthansa Allegris blue economy seat.
Lufthansa Allegris economy seat.Lufthansa

Source: Crystal Cabin Awards

The new business class seats will debut by the end of this year, while the new first class suites will be introduced on Airbus A350-900 aircraft in early 2024.

Lufthansa new Allegris first-class suites: Interior photo showing the seating
Lufthansa Allegris first class suite.Lufthansa

Source: Executive Traveller

The third finalist in the "cabin concepts" category tackles the crew rest area on single-aisle jets.

United crew rest seats on a 767.
On widebody planes, rest can be rows of reserved economy seats (pictured is on United's 767), curtained off business class seats, or separate compartments above the cabin.Taylor Rains/Insider

Over the past few years, many US and European airlines have started flying narrowbody planes — mostly the Airbus A321neoLR and the Boeing 737 MAX — across the Atlantic.

Flydubai Boeing 737 MAX.
A Flydubai Boeing 737 MAX.Flydubai

This transition from predominantly widebody planes on long-haul routes comes as manufacturers drastically improve narrowbody fuel efficiency and engine reliability.

Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767-200ER
The Boeing 767-200ER was the first twin-engine aircraft that was capable of flying across the Atlantic.aviation-images.com/Getty Images

Source: Insider

Now that these planes make financial sense, airlines see the benefit of using the lower-capacity jets — especially flying low-demand routes.

TAP Air Portugal Airbus A321LR
TAP Air Portugal Airbus A321LR, which the company says can "operate profitability in smaller markets that cannot be regularly served by larger widebody aircraft."Airbus

Source: Business Traveler

However, the industry has run into a problem — there isn't much space for a separate crew rest area.

Qatar's Boeing 777-200LR flight attendant crew rest area.
Taylor Rains/Insider

I went inside the secret room where flight attendants sleep on Qatar's Boeing 777 and was shocked at how big it was

These pod-style rooms are used for crew members on long-haul flights and are normally located above the cabin on widebody planes.

ITA Airways A350 at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.
ITA Airways A350 at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.Taylor Rains/Insider

See inside the secret aircraft cabin where flight attendants sleep on long-haul journeys on an Airbus A350

On narrowbodies, this isn't realistic. Instead, airlines opt to reserve passenger seats for the crew — like JetBlue blocking off the last seat in Mint business class on its A321neoLR.

JetBlue Reimagined Mint seating.
JetBlue Reimagined Mint seating.Courtesy of JetBlue

While JetBlue added a curtain, some crew don't have this much privacy. One fix is Diehl Aviation's crew rest compartment design that uses the space between the first row and the door.

Diehl Aviation's crew rest compartment concept with a woman sitting on the folded down bed.
Diehl Aviation's crew rest compartment concept is made for single-aisle planes and is in the "cabin concepts" category.Diehl Aviation

According to Diehl, the module with foldable beds is multi-purpose as it can also be used as a medical compartment or a booking option for customers.

The seat's vaccuum insulation panel.
The seat's vacuum insulation panel.Diehl Aviation

The fourth design finalist, which is under the "passenger comfort" category, is the "Ascent Front Row Seat" created by Adient Aerospace and Boeing Encore Interiors.

Adient Aerospace first class with minibar.
Adient Aerospace first class with minibar.Adient Aerospace, Boeing Encore Interiors

The design removes the overhead bin to create a huge living space for travelers, including a companion seat, a library, and even a minibar.

Ascent First Class Suite.
Ascent First Class Suite.Adient Aerospace, Boeing Encore Interiors

Read the original article on Business Insider