day, while others won’t eat a meal at a table where they do business, requiring ready solutions, Davis said. Overall, the studio gives airlines a true indication in how their jets will appear on the inside, leading to confident decisions and fewer late changes. These are significant cost-savers both for airlines and Boeing, according to Craver. Bringing the cabin selection process together in one well-organized location also has made everything more productive and comfortable. “The whole experience matters,” said Alaska’s Craig. “The configuration studio is a safe haven for creativity. In the studio, you can allocate time, bring in partners and have tea.” n DANIEL.W.RALEY@BOEING.COM DECEMBER 2015–JANUARY 2016 51 helped design and build the configuration studio for Boeing. “It’s all about brand.” In the light lab area, Boeing recently unveiled its new Space Bins, which are larger overhead stowage containers able to hold more carry-on luggage than the existing 737 bins. Alaska is the launch customer for the Space Bins, which hang 2 inches (5 centimeters) lower from the ceiling to accommodate passenger reach and have room to store six standard-size carry-on bags, two more than before. The largest studio showroom is for seating. Five suppliers have different configurations in place, mixing first-class with economy options. Airlines measure seat pitch (legroom) and comfort. They experiment and rearrange the number of seats. This room is as busy as any. “One thing we’ve taken advantage of is the seat gallery room,” Craig said. “We’ve done a couple of different seat mock-ups and pitch mock-ups. The value of being able to do it and get it really accurate is important to us.” In-flight entertainment options are featured in large colorful displays that are mounted across the back wall of the seating room. Three suppliers promote numerous products, which include privacy screens, user controls, handsets and power plugs. A mock lavatory has a curved wall, demonstrating a space-saving concept. Also under consideration is a smaller aft galley, which could lead to more seating. In a far corner of the seating showroom are two smaller, secure rooms where customers can conduct cabin consultations in private. “We use this specifically for a new seat when airlines don’t want competitors to see it,” said Steve Pickard, 737 interiors engineer. The configuration studio was built to be comfortable and functional, but not too flashy—mirroring the airplane it serves, the 737. A cafe area facilitates catered events; separate phone rooms ensure confidential conversations. Everything is considered when it comes to meeting the needs of the customer, including cultural differences. Visiting airline personnel sometimes need space to pray multiple times per Photos: (Far left) Alaska Airlines’ Stephanie Cootsona and Matthew Coder examine galley options at the 737 Configuration Studio. (Above) Coder, left, and Chase Craig sort through cabin fabric samples at the 737 Configuration Studio.
Frontiers December 2015 - January 2016 Issue
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