A key insight from the 'Mapping in-flight services' workshop was that we did not generate much information on what it is that Passengers do during long haul flights. This was due to the fact that we discovered that Cabin Crew were so focused on the many tasks that they have to do that they did not have ample time to interact with passengers.

The workshop

Hand baggage only was a workshop we conducted at Schiphol with a group of 8 volunteers who have often flown long Haul flights. We asked them to bring with them a typical hand luggage that they would take on a long haul flight. The goal was to discover what passengers plan for Long Haul flights and how they attempt to control their experience whilst on the plane.

The workshop generated a series of stories from passengers about objects or artefacts that they take on the plane and for what purpose. Whilst the objects that people brought were on the whole very obvious the reasons that they brought them were insightful. We generated profiles based on their objects and explanation to give us an idea of how they attempt to experience the flight:


Damon is an opportunist, as a professional writer he finds it difficult to write on planes, he can however read. He finds it a pleasure to have the time. A quote he heard recently was “If your marching your not fighting” In other words, once he arrives he has to work, but as long as he is travelling he can appreciate his own time.


Ronald is a pro, he has been flying regularly for 10 years, he has got his flying habits down to a science. He always has a bag ready to go that he never unpacks. Despite his flying experience, he has not found the time in the air to his advantage, but rather has found ways of avoiding it. It’s not an opportunity but something that can’t be helped. His time on the plane is tailored around arriving as quickly and as efficiently as possible. He takes prescription sleeping pills in order to sleep, to generate energy for his arrival. He does not particularly work on the plane, but rather has a habit of sleeping and waking for meals. He carries all kinds of objects in his hand luggage which can only be described as a back up of his check-in bag. So that if something happened he has this bag which can cater to any situation.


Ronald and Damon were just two of the people's stories, however we could have split the group into two. THose like Ronald who attempt to just pass the time as painlessly as possible. More of a survival mentality. And the others like Damon, who try to utilise the time, who actively try and take advantage of the time on the plane. Whilst this workshop began to show patterns of behaviour between seemingly very different people, it also highlighted the desire for autonomous control. It also highlighted how important objects can be in such a service environment, that they are able to stimulate particular experiences, even in one case some Dice.

Published: 13-Mar-2012 14:12


  • Hand Baggage Only