Vision for a Family-Friendly Airline
October 23, 2012
by Matt Villano
© RKS Design
Imagine an airline with an on-board rent-a-toy service, pull-down sound-proof compartments, child-friendly lavatories and seating that allows family members to face each other.
Fantasy? Fiction? Far-fetched musings of a family travel blogger who has eaten too much candy corn? Actually, it’s none of the above; instead, it’s the gist of a video concept from RKS Design for a new airline, dubbed cAir.
To be clear, the airline isn’t real. Not yet, at least.
The video is a blueprint for a family-friendly approach. And it could happen. With the right investors. And the right leaders. And passengers willing to pony up and give it a shot.
All of the hypothetical in-flight amenities on the video certainly are appealing. What parent (or non-parent, for that matter) wouldn’t like sound-proof compartments and larger lavatories? I also got excited about some of the on-the-ground amenities, such as an in-airport play area, family express check-in, stroller rentals and bag valet.
The video speaks of entertainment systems that make Virgin America’s look like VIC-20s. Another idea I like: Shuttle service with kid-friendly seating (i.e., car seats for youngsters 50 pounds or lighter).
After watching the video, I (imagined cursing out a customer service rep from Malaysia Airlines and) tracked down Ravi Sawhney, the CEO of RKS, to ask him about the concept behind cAir.
Sawhney told me that the by the driving force of the video was “to identify pain-points in people’s lives and create some sort of inspiration for industry to take action.” He added that most of the people behind the video were parents with young kids, and said RKS conducted a number of interviews with other parents to inform their perspectives, as well.
Of all the suggestions in the video, he said family bathrooms would be the toughest for modern-day airlines to implement, and noted that the sound-dampening curtains likely would be among the easiest.
Overall, he noted, cAir is doable as its own airline or as a subset of an existing company.
“It usually takes a very consumer-driven mindset to say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, there is value in doing things better for people,’” he noted. Let’s hope that someday—soon?—he’s right.