Less noticeable to many passengers will be JPA and Japan Airlines’ commitment to Universal Design; a set of principles promoting “design for all people” that underpins all of the airline’s interactions with their passengers. Japan Airlines’ First Class passengers tend to be older than in other service classes and the seat is designed to respond to the challenges in terms of mobility and visual acuity that some face. Research revealed that passengers moving around the cabin tended to use the suite walls to steady themselves and so we developed the edges to these walls to be rigid and comfortable to grip for arthritic hands. The seat controls are set close to the passenger, designed with high contrast graphics to be easy to read and are shaped differently so that their functions can be understood by touch as well as sight. The table floats in front of the passenger on a rail, removing the inelegant and physically demanding task of stowing it in the side console.
In service for over a decade, the longevity of this suite is testament to an approach characterised by the refinement of a classical aesthetic over chasing trends, and a driving focus on understanding the passengers in the greatest possible depth to identify and respond to their true needs.