The commercial air travel industry is an interesting one. In an age of innovation across most industries, one could argue that air travel has become less glamorous, more stressful, and way more expensive. The days of comfortably cruising across the sky with a plate of warm food, a drink, and a glimmer of hope are seemingly dead. But, that doesn’t mean carriers have thrown in the towel. They are pushing ahead in an attempt to integrate high tech tools to help draw customers from new low-cost carriers that are undercutting the big players. I spoke with JustFly, an online travel agency that keeps an eye on advancements in the industry. They gave me a list of some of the coolest new advances that are on the way.
Sick of paying for headphones and squinting at screens in the headrest? You may not need to someday. With the pending explosion of virtual reality tech across many spectrums, carriers are looking into the feasibility of replacing headphones and screens with VR headsets. While in-flight enjoyment is an obvious application, the possibilities with VR are pretty much unlimited thanks to the state of this emerging tech industry.
Augmented Display Windows and Observatories
On the topic of in-flight entertainment, another cool piece of tech dug up using JustFly’s review is augmented display windows. With electronic displays evolving seemingly all the time, carriers have investigated the feasibility of incorporating touch displays into the windows of aircraft. These displays would be used for entertainment purposes, but also for providing passengers with information such as airspeed, location, and GPS location. While this may cut out some good views, these changes would go hand in hand with the establishment of designated viewing areas, allowing for larger panoramic views.
Supersonic, Hybrid, And Electric Flights
Not everything to do with passenger experience requires fancy gizmos to distract travelers. While no flyer will turn down free entertainment, the best kind of joy is the happiness that comes with a quick and safe flight. Making flights safer is barely possible, as flight is one of the safest modes of transport out there, but making them faster is. While many carriers are approaching this issue with different solutions, it generally comes down to supersonic flight, hybrid-electric flight, and other less likely solutions like solar flight. What these will serve to do is make flight faster and potentially cheaper.
Last on JustFly’s list was a very contentious issue, drone flight. The word drone is something of a cursed word for most, but the idea of pilotless flights is well developed. At this point, planes could operate without pilots and would probably be safer. But until people come to terms with the highly politicized issue of drones, it’s likely human pilots will be a fixture of air travel.