What is a platform, anyway?
Flying ain’t what it used to be. Once the province of the rich and glamorous, today’s experience in the air seems cookie-cutter from flight to flight. Most of the flying public is resigned to leaving behind the perks they enjoy on the ground when they board a plane. But if you can fit beds and a full bar into a train car, why not push the envelope of what’s possible in an aircraft?
Enter A³, Airbus Group’s Silicon Valley skunkworks. Their mission: disrupt the aviation industry before someone else does. Current projects include flying cars, so you know they’re serious about pushing limits. After a short chat with their team, we knew they were on to something big.
That something was modular aircraft interiors. Imagine a flight from JFK to LAX filled with a bar cabin, a spin class, and business suites with videoconferencing. Now imagine these cabin units get swapped at the gate, and by the time the plane takes off after dark, it’s packed with full-size beds and a movie theater. That’s the future of flying.
Find the benefit
A³ was about to change flying as we knew it. But their working name didn’t cut it. Turning the project into a reality would take more than wooing airline passengers. They had to convince airlines that this was the way forward, and they had to loop in cabin interior manufacturers to make sure everything would actually get built. Above all, they had to communicate a radical shift: from flying as transportation to flying as an experience.
The answer was Transpose. Its core meaning — trading places — speaks to the ability to swap cabin layouts and try new things. Its prefix is a nod to flying’s conventional function, and its suffix calls to mind active, flexible positions around the cabin, offering a glimpse at what flying could be.
Transpose also has a powerful array of meanings, from music to engineering, that suggest the ability to create a personalized experience in the sky. And in a world of Sky Suites and — yawn — First Class offerings, the name speaks to the modular engineering behind the experience, rather than making promises about luxury. Ultimately, Transpose is a way to talk about the subtle shifts that will turn an industry on its head.