The Psychology of Comfortable Air Travel

How to create an award-winning in-flight experience

4 min read

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to fly Singapore Airlines from Melbourne, Australia, to Singapore, and then again from Singapore to Frankfurt, Germany, both segments in business class. I had always heard from business associates about how wonderful it was to fly Singapore Airlines, but I didn't understand how good it could be. The food, the level of service, and the in-flight entertainment system were the best I have experienced in over 30 years of international flying. To be honest, I was a bit unhappy when I had to get off the plane. That may explain why Singapore Airlines was voted by international airline passengers in Skytrax Research's 2008 annual survey as the world's best overall airline for the second year in a row and also why it won the award for the best business class.

I was curious as to what makes Singapore Airlines so good. I spoke with James Boyd, Singapore Airlines' vice president of public relations for the Americas, who explained to me the philosophy behind Singapore Airlines' approach to business and especially the importance of its in-flight entertainment system. Below are some excerpts from that conversation.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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