Blankets with benefits: Plane Talking Products shares sustainable pathways
This is a special feature from PAX International’s 2023 April Amenities & Comfort issue on page 10.
Inflight product supplier Plane Talking Products (PTP) has been highlighting its sustainability agenda in recent years. Its plastic-free cups, cutlery, air sickness bags and amenity kits are one part of the company’s agenda to put the earth first in product design.
As more travellers get back into the cabin for business and leisure travel — or the intersection of both, which Co-Founder and Director of PTP Alison Wells points out as “bleisure” travel — the company is zeroing in on its contributions to a circular economy.
PTP incorporates eucalyptus and bamboo fibres into its rotable bedding ranges, as an alternative to polyester, including duvet covers, pillow cases, blankets and bottom sheets made from the natural fibres, as well as cost-effective disposable bamboo textiles as an alternative to polypropylene. To complete its sustainable range, bamboo socks and eyeshades are also available.
Keeping sustainability at the forefront of products is what passengers want, Wells says.
Along with incorporating sustainable products, PTP is championing a major change in how the inflight sector works.
“We should look first at how we can extend the life of a product to reduce waste,” Wells tells PAX International. “At PTP we have been looking at the sustainable pathways for an rPET (recycled polyester) blanket. The ideal solution is a circular economy whereby the blankets are reused, repurposed or remanufactured into for example bottles or blankets. There is also a linear option where the blankets can be ‘downcycled’ into insulating materials or similar.”
The purity of these products is also top of mind. Blending bamboo or eucalyptus with cotton or other fibres may have some benefits (costs can drop and durability increases), but Wells says it is best to remain cautious.
“Blending can sometimes make the product less recyclable or difficult to dispose of after its useful life,” she explains. In future designs, PTP may incorporate silver or copper technology in blended fibres for the antimicrobial, anti-odour and anti-allergy benefits. “At Plane Talking Products we always try to stay on top of current trends,” Wells says.
When designing and developing products, PTP aims to “incorporate small details that make a big impact,” Wells explains. “We look at the heritage and local culture and include this in the product design so that passengers know definitively where they are and who they are travelling with.”
PTP uses colours, textures and accent pieces that evoke a sense of “arriving” — either at the destination or home. Choosing these specific details helps keep the products fresh in the passenger’s mind, and can make them much more interesting and memorable. This sense of connection is important to PTP, Wells says, as passengers are seeking comfort on many levels as travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.
“We look holistically at the experience that our customers want to create,” she says. This bespoke approach helps passengers “feel” the local culture while travelling.