COMFORT AND SLEEP
The Casper rollout was initiated on the some of the airline’s longest routes, such as those to Hong Kong, Auckland and Sydney
After one of the most sweeping rollouts of comfort items in recent years, American Airlines will fill more aircraft with highquality bedding from an expert in sleep
n September 2017, during its annual Media and Investor’s Day, American Airlines announced that sleep and comfort would be a priority in its future with a new line of bedding in its First, Business and Premium Economy Class cabins on long-haul and transcontinental routes. By December of the same year, the first items from the Casper bedding line, the result of a partnership with WESSCO International, were placed into service. The products were a culmination of a yearlong inflight sleep study that had the airline and the New York-based comfort company matching products to seat shapes and configurations, and accepting and rejecting dozens of possibilities before settling on a core group that includes a mattress pad, duvet, pillow, day blanket, pajamas and slippers. Since then, the selection of products has stayed the same, except for a few branding tweaks, says Nick
The Casper pillow went through more than a dozen iterations before the design was finalized
24 MAY 2019
Richards, Director of Customer Experience Product & Strategy at American Airlines. Richards, along with designers from Casper, outlines the company’s goals in a video from the launch of the new products. Naturally, the rollout was initiated on the some of the airline’s longest routes: flights to Hong Kong, Auckland and Sydney, as well as the airline’s competitive transcontinental routes. But in the two years since the rollout, Casper’s mattress pad and other products from the company’s line have been added to additional routes. By early this summer, Richards says the mattress pad will be on all of American Airlines’ transpacific Business Class cabins. Richards says an early concern was making sure the product’s design was closely aligned with the airline’s seating. “It took about 12 months to develop the products because what we wanted to do is [not only] ensure that the products
were tailored to our seat but also that we could ensure all the different products and materials and technologies Casper uses could then be translated into an onboard product,” says Richards. This is because the airline environment is filled with conditions that are not experienced on the ground. Cabin pressure, humidity, temperature and time zone shifts were all considerations as the companies selected and designed products. One example was the Casper pillow, which went through more than a dozen iterations before the partners settled on materials and a design. “It came down to the material that was used in the pillowcase,” says Richards. “Some were soft and some felt rough. A big piece of it was the size and then the amount of material used in the interior of the pillow.” Eventually, the team found the Goldilocks (the “just right”) combination of size, fillings and materials for comfort and support. As Casper bedding is also used in rest quarters for pilots and flight attendants, American is continuing to gauge not only customer feedback but that of the crew as well. Its contract with the company continues until 2020. The program has received many accolades since its inception, winning the 2018 IFSA Compass Award for Best Onboard Amenity Program and the 2018 TravelPlus Award for Business Class Bedding, and receiving a Highly Commended Certificate under the Equipment – Passenger category at the 2018 Mercury Awards.