Yves Béhar And Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman On Why Air Travel Needs A Redesign

When asked recently what they would want reinvented outside of Jawbone, the two argued that airlines need to start rethinking the frustrating flight experience.

Apple's Jony Ive recently said that if he wasn't designing iPhones and iPads, he'd be spending his time rethinking—of all things—cups. For Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman and partner-in-crime Yves Béhar, the founder of Fuseproject, their private passion isn't quite so mundane, though it would be far more of a challenge to reinvent: airline travel.

Rahman and Béhar shared their thoughts on why the air travel experience needs to be redesigned at Fast Company's Innovation By Design conference last week, where the pair mused about the universal frustrations consumers have with the airline industry. That's not to say Jawbone's next conquest after speakers and wearables is flight or travel, Elon Musk-style. But it does serve as a reminder of how ripe the industry is for disruption, despite the strides made by companies such as JetBlue and Virgin.

"I think about redesigning the whole plane travel experience a lot," Rahman said onstage. "I mean, does anyone love air travel? When is the last time you said, 'I love my airline. I love sitting in that seat. I love the whole experience.' Virgin tried to do this, but even that didn't totally work. So I think there's just an incredible opportunity now that people fly a lot more—it's not limited to a certain set of people. And I spend a lot of time on planes, so I think about it a lot."

Image: Flickr user Dan Paluska

Rahman suggested the entire flow of travel needed to be reshaped, from the airport check-in to the in-flight experience. He called even small improvements to the experience such as TSA Pre, which enables pre-screening to streamline the security process, "life changing."

Béhar agrees, contending that airline companies in general have yet to design an end-to-end user experience. "Airlines should be selling you the journey—not the destination—and obviously they're not doing that," he said.

Do you agree?

See the winners of our Innovation By Design Awards here, and more highlights from the conference here. Hosain Rahman and Yves Béhar are two of one of our Co.Design 50 who appeared on stage; check out the others here.

Produced by Fast Company Video.

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  • Aivars Lode

    Absolutely air travel has to be the worst customer experience outside of having to deal with the cable provider Comcast. You may find interesting the following article where a group in Aussie totally changed the customer experience in buying fresh produce, whilst slashing waste and reducing the price. www.thesupplychainnews.blogspo... contains the MIT case study that documents the achievement.

  • H. Tyler Kurtz

    We all feel the pain here, and a friend of mine is fixing these exact problems.  Check out Surf Air.  Currently they only operate in CA, but it is a whole new way to fly.  It's a subscription-based, all-you-can-fly model that almost eliminates all of the pain points of your typical air travel.  It's not for everyone.  Subscriptions start at $1600 a month, but it's the opposite of what you experience anywhere else.  First class all the way.  Hopefully it will make the big airlines care about the experience more too.

  • inviziblecong

    is there any way to watch the whole series of interviews and chats from the Fast Company's Innovation By Design conference?

  • jonathan kim

    its too bad he states an obvious problem but provides no solution or ideas for solutions, or is there a part 2?

  • Leo Wielstra

    I could not agree more. What a waste of time during that journey. Making communication free of charge and rethink the model would be such an improvement already. Excommunication used to be the most severe penalty after beheading - so why forcing your customers to it in 2013?