Jetliner Cabins
Jennifer Coutts Clay
ISBN: 0470851651
John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd, $115.45

know : read

“When you get right down to it, we’re all being held captive in a tube for a certain period of time.” That is how Tom Higgins, CEO of Best Western, once described air travel to me. And he ought to know. As the head of the world’s largest hotel chain, Higgins logs more than 150,000 miles annually.

His observation got me thinking and questioning: why has this most frequented of small spaces been so seldom the subject of any thorough investigation? Well, now thanks to Jennifer Coutts Clay’s informative 192-page compendium, Jetliner Cabins, it has. The long time airline marketing consultant, sometime airline executive and most recently columnist, touches in succinct tones on virtually every aspect of an airliner’s interior – from aesthetics and design to technology and comfort.

Even the rudimentary areas of maintenance, safety, branding and accessibility are covered in remarkable detail, as are virtually anything and everything to do with the experience of flying – from food and in-flight menus to amenity kits and entertainment. Clay is intimately familiar with the subject, but instead of boring the reader with lecture-speak, she uses quotes from industry experts, as well as hundreds of photos and diagrams to guide readers on an edifying journey, starting with the Wright Brothers right up to aviation at the turn of the millennium.

Some, however, may take issue at the level of detail-the colour and design selected to be Trans World Airlines’ choice of upholstery and an explanation as to why it would be an apt example. Others, like me, found photos of Andre Puttman’s whimsical illustrations for Air France Concorde dining menus to be a welcome and colourful surprise. Finally, a must-see, must-read book that marries the world of commercial aviation with that of design, — Farhad Heydari

Available at all major bookstores




ISBN 0-991-41011-4


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.