Flying into the Future: Universal Design Solutions for Inclusive Aircrafts

by Nov 6, 2023

Home » The Disability Inclusion Blog » Flying into the Future: Universal Design Solutions for Inclusive Aircrafts

The aviation industry is making remarkable strides in creating more inclusive airport environments. However, a crucial piece of the puzzle that’s being overlooked is the need for innovative, inclusive aircraft design.


The Mistake of Neglecting Future-Proofing

Air travel is a vital mode of global transportation, but the aviation construction industry seems to be missing an important point: inclusivity in the skies. The industry has made some strides toward a more inclusive air travel experience. And, regulatory requirements are continually evolving to accommodate the greatest number of travelers better.

However, the aviation construction industry is not adequately future-proofing their designs to meet the anticipated regulations or the needs of future travelers. Failing to future-proof for these inevitable changes can result in costly modifications and aircraft retrofitting, which is not only financially burdensome but can also be disruptive to operations.


Innovations in Airplane Designs

It’s time for the aviation construction industry to embrace UD solutions and foster innovations to create a more inclusive flying experience. Here are some ideas for more durable airplane designs:

  1. Wider aisles and a more spacious layout: Airplanes are uncomfortable for everyone – passengers traveling with small children, short passengers, tall passengers, elderly passengers, and passengers who need assistance. Creating wider aisles and more spacious cabin layouts would make it easier for passengers to navigate the cabin comfortably.
  2. Flexible seating arrangements: Arrangements could include removable seats, adjustable armrests, and reconfigurable cabins, which would allow for more flexibility and accommodate various passenger needs. 
  3. Innovative lavatory solutions: Designing larger lavatories with UD solutions, such as accessible door locks and faucet temperature controls, can also improve the flying experience.
  4. Crew training: Proper training for flight crew to assist passengers with empathetic and respectful service is indispensable.

Heeding the Lesson of the Aviation Industry

The aviation industry’s oversight should be a valuable lesson for any business embarking on new build projects. By adopting UD principles in your initial design phase, you can avoid costly renovations, maintain a positive reputation, and create an inclusive environment that appeals to a broader customer base. My team is here to guide you every step of the way.

Schedule a consultation with me on Calendly.

Andrew D. Houghton

Andrew D. Houghton

President, Disability Inclusion Solutions

Nationally Recognized Accessibility Expert. Creating Innovative Disability Inclusion Solutions. Certified DOBE.

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