The 2023 Crystal Cabin Awards shortlist for innovative aviation concepts

This year’s shortlist for the Crystal Cabin Awards gives a fascinating look into the potential future of aviation, from a cabin concept that completely eliminates the middle seat to a sleek design that elevates single-aisle aircraft business class.


The Crystal Cabin Awards promote fresh concepts that reinvent the in-flight experience each year. There are eight categories, and the awards highlight everything from environmentally responsible innovations—like a German airline Lufthansa’s suggestion for an AI-based food waste app—to cutting-edge ideas straight from the university lecture hall.

After the uncertainty of the peak pandemic years, according to Julia Grosser, a spokesman for the Crystal Cabin Award Association, this year’s nomination demonstrates aviation is turning a corner.

In response to the “substantial innovation seen even in economy class – from bunk beds to greater internet,” Grosser tells CNN Travel that “airlines, manufacturers, and suppliers are heavily investing in their onboard products again.”

Airborne invention

Air New Zealand’s “Skynest” proposal, which envisions bookable sleeping pods made up of six lie-flat bunk beds, is one of the selected cabin improvements. It was created to provide economic long-haul travellers with the opportunity to get some quality rest.


The inspiration for the idea, which has been under development since early 2022, came from “the design problem of bringing a wide-body experience to a narrow-body cabin,” according to Stephanie Faulk, director of sales and marketing at Adient.

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