Stratus Air: A Cooper concept project

When we saw the topic of this year’s I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review concept category, we thought it would be fun to put together an entry. As frequent travelers, we were particularly inspired by the brief: design a graphic, object, or environment that would improve the experience of air travel.

We thought our approach was a good mix of practicality and inspiration; a premium loyalty service enabled by helpful bits of technology that would ease the pain and smooth the turbulence of business travel. Did we expect to win? Absolutely. Even though the judges didn’t share our enthusiasm, we’re happy with what we came up with, and we wanted to share it with you.

We present Stratus Air.

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The Stratus Air program

Stratus travellers receive a small, electronic travel pass and set of bag tags as part of the program. Together these provide up-to-date information, guide and identify travelers throughout the airport, and track luggage. Stratus is able to delivers this service through inexpensive technologies like e-Ink, RFID, and existing cellular networks.

With Stratus, travelers can now count on having the latest information at their fingertips in a single location. The travel pass brings together itinerary, boarding pass, update/delay information, parking location, baggage, and personal identification. Because the travel pass automatically checks travelers in when they arrive at the airport, and confirms their identity at security and boarding areas, lines and waiting are reduced or eliminated. Since notifications are delivered directly to the travel pass, noisy announcements that are relevant to a small portion of people are also eliminated. The travel pass helps provide a tailored in-flight experience by remembering entertainment and dining preferences and even makes it easy to begin a movie on one flight, and finish it on the next.

The pass’s e-Ink display is readable in a wide range of lighting conditions and the display’s low power requirements and ‘always on’ static state means travelers don’t need to search for a charging station. The colored cover enables travelers to clip the pass anywhere, freeing their hands to juggle luggage and operate their phone, and also provides a unique branding opportunity. The bag tags identify and locate baggage within the Stratus terminal ecosystem, so travelers no longer worry about misplaced bags.


Michael Loechel
I love the vision and thoughfulness of this approach to travel. I cannot wait to see it in action. We should also considering looking at how other countries experiences compare to the U.S. - there is quite a difference. I have travelled quite extensively overseas, and recently travelled to Singapore, one of the best (if not the best) designed airports in the world. The airport is designed so security is handled at each individual gate rather then one long line to enter all gates, and each gate has it's own waiting area reserved for passengers only. This allows for non-travelling family and friends to accompany passenges troughout the airport and enjoy additional time together. It also makes for shorter lines and the security screening process much more effienent. Furthermore, in none of the countries to which I have travled outside the U.S. will you find security personal who are as rude, unprofessional, and uneducated. I have never heard anyone barking orders at passengers passing through a security line or barking over a loud speaker. Securtiy in many other countries is taken quite seriously where the employees are there for a careeer, not just a part time job for what appear to be high school drop outs. They are professional, and treat passengers with coursey and respect. It's not just the process - it's the people!
Laleh Omalaki
Really cool design I like the fact that you have considered the physical design of the pass, so it would not be with sharp ends that are irritating One useful addition to this design could be a weather condition presentation to the destination the traveler is going, so that he/she knows what to wear at arrival and do not have to carry an un-necessary raincoat when its all sunny (and possibly bring his sunglasses!!)
David Stewart
We desperately need this kind of thought in Air Travel. I did my own research (still trapped in my sketchbook) on the air travel experience with the desire to find out where that wonderful experience I had when I was a child. Airlines would certainly benefit from this kind of experience. However, I approached the problem from a public standpoint. My concern was the amount of bad messaging from our airports. In an effort to protect us from terrorists they have succeeded in amplifying our fears. At every point in the process we are confronted with mortality. With the exception of Las Vegas airport, which guides us through the security process with help from magicians and the blue man group, most airports inadvertently remind us of all the bad things about air travel. We're FLYING!!! It is AMAZING! I would love the opportunity to design an air experience that brought childlike joy back to our airports.
Martin Arnold
The only thing wrong with your Stratus Air design is that it does not exist! As if air travel was not bad enough these days, now I am going to have to consider constantly how much better it would be if the Cooper design was implemented. And it is not as if Stratus Air is blue sky wishful thinking; it is eminently achievable. The only incomprehensible thing is why this design did not win the contest.
Chris Bitti
Great idea, Smart design, great experience. Could the experience be translated to smartphones? i am thinking that with the smartphones we have today, and added device could be a little redundant. Is it possible to build an app that does most of what the device does? Might sound a bit silly, but i think it will be easier to sell something like this as an app. in the world we live in today. You guys rock. I have been looking for user experience partners for a while now.

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