Japan Airlines (JAL) received three Good Design Awards this year, conferred by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP). Bamboo wheelchairs used at select airports, JAL’s Sky Recliner seat fitted in Executive Class on certain international routes, and the food tray mat served onboard JAL flights between Paris and Japan were among 1,112 items identified from 3,162 eligible entries to garner recognition from JDP.
The frame, hand rims that are attached to the wheels, supporting shaft and brakes of the winning wheelchair are made of natural bamboo and compared to conventional wheelchairs, has no metal components. This unique feature allows customers to circumvent the inconvenience of getting up from the wheelchair when going through security metal detectors*. Notably, the innovation supports the ideals of a “sustainable society” as it utilizes such ecological natural material as bamboo which has a short reproduction cycle and can be replenished quickly. First introduced by JAL at airports in January this year, the wheelchair is now being used at 3 domestic airports in Japan, namely Oita, Itami and Haneda. * Passengers may still be required by security personnel to get up from their wheelchair if metallic items on them are detected.
The JAL Sky Recliner is the newest of JAL’s executive class seats introduced in October 2010 and available on flights to Bangkok, Beijing, Hanoi and Singapore. It is modeled after the airlines domestic first class product and shaped like a plush sofa seat with removable armrests and luxurious upholstery to provide customers with a sense of space and indulgence. It also features ergonomically larger control buttons to adjust the seat and ample storage capacity at easy reach. Significantly, the upholstery of the seat is also made of a special light-weight material, contributing to JAL’s efforts to reduce weight onboard and thereby reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
JAL operates two daily flights between Tokyo and Paris – one flight each from Narita and Haneda. For customers traveling in premium economy and economy class, meals are served on trays laid with a mat with scenic images of either Japan or France, corresponding to the type of meal chosen. This brings to customers, a sense of space in the cabin and also familiarity with the origin and destination of the flight.