As this volume begins with the industry’s increasingly spacious first class cabins, most readers will become instantly jealous of what thousands of dollars for a ticket will buy in terms of airborne comfort these days ‘in front of the curtain’. The bedrooms-in-the-sky surely look like another world to those of us in the back of the bus.
A New York-based airline marketing consultant for many years, Clay uses her handsome volume to pull together the work and ideas of a host of airline and independent designers, illustrating how cabin design and operation have changed over the past couple of decades. The result is far more than mere pretty pictures, for each of the book’s four related parts provides several detailed chapters. ‘Product branding’ opens with first class luxury, business class comfort (still looks like luxury to me), and economy class value (note how the emphasis changes), as well as more general airline identity. ‘Passenger experience’ then broadens the coverage to encompass lighting, dining and airline meals (surely these are also first class judging from the pictures?), customer ‘touchpoints’ (little gifts), and airliner accessibility for those with special needs.
Part Three reviews the never-seen but important topic of ‘cabin maintenance’ (cleanliness, durability, carpeting, and the use of leather in seating), while the final part on the ‘marketing challenge’ features the approaches to color schemes by several airlines (including defunct Braniff), the special case of Concorde, refurbishing older aircraft, and a look at what is coming (the Airbus A380, amongst other things).
All this material is wonderfully illustrated with photos and computer graphics, making it almost appear to be a graphic or industrial designer’s notebook.
Providing good insight into what is happening behind the scenes in interior airline design and operation, Clay’s book makes for fascinating reading and looking.
Grateful acknowledgement is given to the airlines and other organizations credited in this book for permission to use their photographs.
There are other images, also credited, that come from publicly available sources, for example, company sales brochures and websites. Pictures that are displayed
without photo credits come from the Collection of J. Clay Consulting.
Jennifer Coutts Clay has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author of this work.
First Edition in Hardback © 2003 Jennifer Coutts Clay. Second Edition in Paperback © 2006 Jennifer Coutts Clay. Third Edition in Digital Format © 2014 Jennifer Coutts Clay.