Monthly Archives: October 2016

Best Airplane Cabins in the Skies

There are eight main categories for the Crystal Cabin Awards: cabin concepts; cabin systems; electronic systems; visionary concepts; passenger comfort hardware; greener cabin, health safety and environment; material and components; and university innovations, which encourages young engineers and designers to dream up the future of flight.

This year’s shortlist includes products flying today, and some we hope will fly soon.

Delta and United are both up for a Crystal Cabin Awards for their new business class products. Delta’s new Delta One Suite, which will be introduced on the airline’s A350 aircraft, is the first fully private suite introduced in this class category.

Delta One Suite

United’s Polaris Business class seat is a newly patented design, exclusive to the airline, which considers the comfort of passengers at all phases of flight, from dining to sleeping, working and entertainment.

Canada’s aircraft maker Bombardier has been shortlisted for the cabins on its new short and medium haul C-Series planes. These feature roomy architecture, large windows, and improved environmental controls, and offer passengers dramatic improvements in cabin comfort. C-Series variants already launched into service during 2016 with Swiss Air Lines first to fly the CS-100 and Air Baltic first to fly the CS-300.

Airbus was shortlisted for a new “Smart Cabin Reconfiguration” option which would allow cabin and maintenance crew to easily change the pitch of seats based on the number of reservations on a flight. On less crowded flights, the last row could be folded away and the other rows spread out giving everyone onboard more legroom.

“Smart Cabin”

B/E Aerospace is short-listed for a family-friendly cabin concept, and In-2-Tech has proposed an In-2-Sense digital tray table which could do double duty as a keyboard for your tablet.

Digital Tray Table

F.LIST GmbH is being short-listed for its decorative heated-stone flooring, the first of its kind for commercial aircraft applications.

Mercedes-Benz has a nod from the judges for its private jet cabin developed with Lufthansa Technik.

US-based firm Kestrel is also being recognized for a VIP cabin developed for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, designed to serve as a private jet.

Getting a nod from the judges for sustainability are Zodiac Aerospace for an environmentally friendly aircraft lavatory; the Re-Trolley by Airbus, which allows crew to sort and compress garbage as they collect in the cabin; a robot-trolley by engineering firm Altran which pushes itself down the aisle; and a new self-reporting seat by Diehl Aerospace which will let cabin crew know if you haven’t fastened your seat belt.

Alternative Guide to Newcastle

Newcastle is famously a party town, a destination for stags and hens keen to hit the Bigg Market or the bling bars of Collingwood Street’s so-called Diamond Strip. But, as in any great northern city, there is another side to Newcastle. Look in the right places (Pilgrim Street’s Creative Quarter, orOuseburn Valley, a stroll or short bus ride away), and there’s a tight-knit Geordie underground of agitators who, in their own punky, persistent way maintain a vibrant arts ecology – with a distinctive political edge.

They might be glibly dismissed as hipsters, but Newcastle’s creatives (many of them natives) are generally unpretentious doers working on shoestring budgets. They are quietly but unapologetically determined to carve out their own space in this frequently misunderstood city. That stubborn desire to make things happen in Newcastle dates back decades.

In the 1960s, a famous reading room, Morden Tower, brought icons such as Allen Ginsberg to town. The photographic Side Gallery has been documenting working-class Newcastle since 1977. In a city where making a living from art can seem fanciful, projects are often happily uncommercial. Newcastle breeds relative musical oddballs such as Beth Jeans Houghton, Maxïmo Park, Richard Dawson orEat Fast, as well as tiny, boutique record labels (Cel36, 104, alt.vinyl). There is nonetheless real camaraderie among its creative tribes and with other marginalised groups. Next year, techno night Backdrop will host Sound Of Solidarity, an event exploring the creation of safe, racially and sexually diverse club spaces. Such radical ideas are never far from the surface in Newcastle.

How much Newcastle city council values this can vary. At times, it has been instrumental in practically assisting grassroots creativity. For instance, it rehoused the DIY cinema Star and Shadow and helped turn several abandoned, city centre office blocks into temporary spaces for arts organisations. However, the Creative Quarter is in a precarious position. One block will soon go in the name of regeneration, and the council’s decision to allow the demolition of community and arts centre Uptin House has appalled campaigners such as artist and bar-owner Kathryn Hodgkinson:

“We’re at the mercy of aggressive development that is annihilating a lot of these projects. A lot of what [the council] needs to do to protect this sector has nothing to do with money. It’s about having strong policies in place. We’ve got a spineless planning department. I think it needs to say no to more.”


Originally a spin-off from annual Latin American festival ¡VAMOS!, Kommunity is a bar/participatory social space that hosts dance and wellbeing classes, art house film and DJ nights and the occasional daytime family rave. Drinks range from loose-leaf teas to rum punch cocktails.

Pink Lane Coffee

On a narrow cut-through opposite Newcastle Central station, Pink Lane is a boon for travellers keen to swerve the chains and drink serious coffee. Using its own PLC Roastery beans, Pink Lane covers all the single-origin pour-over and espresso bases, and it knocks out a superlative flat white.


This late-night cafe-bar sustains Ouseburn’s artists with good food, homemade sodas, infused spirits (try the horseradish vodka Bloody Mary) and local ales from the likes of Anarchy. A back room hosts lively, free DJ parties that run the gamut from Chicago house (Community) to scuzzy garage rock (No Wow).

Guide for Santiago City

Santiago has always stood in the shadows of its South American neighbours. It doesn’t have the beaches of Rio or the faded opulence of Buenos Aires, but this modern city of seven million people on the edge of the Andes is beginning to win over global travellers. Airlines are jumping onboard, too: British Airways started the first non-stop flights from the UK last week, with the 14-hour-40-minute journey making it BA’s longest route.

Now, you may never have been to a Chilean restaurant, or even know what Chilean cuisine is, but the food scene is exploding in Santiago. The influential US magazine Saveur has named it the world’s Next Great Food City, and chefs have been toying with indigenous cooking methods and produce found between Patagonia, the Atacama desert and the sea to redefine the nation’s cuisine.

Meanwhile, there are now several wine bars in the Chilean capital – five years ago there were none – giving an important industry here a platform to shine. As the capital of one of South America’s most prosperous and stable nations, Santiago is in the midst of major changes, welcoming immigrants from across the Americas and erecting skyscrapers that have reshaped its skyline. Scratch beneath the surface, however, and you’ll find neighbourhoods such as Barrio Yungay and Barrio Italia where historic quarters have been reinvigorated.


Ride the funicular

On a smog-free day, the city’s dramatic setting between the rolling coastal range and the Andes is astounding. To best appreciate it, go to the funicular station at the end of Pio Nono street, in the bohemian Bellavista neighbourhood, ride the rickety railway to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal, sit in the shadow of the Virgin Mary statue and look across the metropolis. Sold from carts throughout the hilltop park is refreshing mote con huesillo, a drink of husked wheat and peach juice.
Adult ride £2,

Stroll through Barrio Lastarria

José Victorino Lastarria street (named after a 19th-century writer, diplomat and politician) is just four blocks long, but this trendy and densely packed corridor is overflowing with shops, restaurants, museums and cultural centres. Start at theGabriela Mistral Centre, and check out the free-admission art galleries on the basement level. Then stroll past the restaurant-filled Paseo Barrio Lastarria and historic Parroquia de la Vera Cruz church towards the street-side craft vendors near the intersection with Merced. Catch an indie film at Cine Arte El Biógrafo or see the latest exhibitions at the Museum of Visual Arts (£1.20).

Explore Chilean history

In the heart of historic Santiago, at the edge of Plaza de Armas, is the newly restored Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (£5). It is filled with indigenous artefacts and, unlike most places here, has English-language displays. The basement of this 200-year-old building is dedicated to Chile and includes Mapuche totems, Inca pottery and the Chinchorro mummies, which are 2,000 years older than the mummies of Egypt. Race forward a few millennia at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights (free). This striking, copper-covered building at the edge of Quinta Normal park houses a sobering exhibit that grapples with the human rights violations and “disappearances” that occurred under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990.