July 16, 2016
The passenger experience on commercial airlines is always changing. And it’s only going to keep changing as technology changes. Elon Musk has already floated the idea of converting planes into electric-powered machines to provide a cleaner flight experience. But that is just one of many things that may or may not happen in the near future when it comes to airline travel.
Emerging technology is set to transform the passenger experience. And here are five theoretical changes you could experience going forward.
Helmets Over Headphones
Passengers are in love with technology. One survey said that 66 percent of passengers are hoping that Wi-Fi technology becomes an integral part of the flying experience. And as virtual reality headsets becomes more of an everyday product, this is going to translate into some major changes for airlines.
Rather than the usual bit of headphones, you are bound to see helmets instead. These will provide full augmented virtual reality entertainment during your flight. Whether it be movies or games, an immersive airline experience could go a long way in keeping passengers happy.
There’s nothing more annoying than enduring a long flight in the upright position. Although companies like Nicholas Air state that the range of planes is increasing, especially in relation to electric planes that can now go over 500 miles an hour while boasting a range of 5,000 miles, you still have to pass the time somehow.
This is where the sleeping cubicles come in. Whether on an expensive flight or at the terminal during a layover, sleeping pods have become a reality. The airport in Helsinki has already introduced them. They provide seats that turn into beds with a place for hand luggage and a smartphone charger. It’s already here, so it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a reality around the rest of the world.
Soon the windows you’ll be looking out of could be entirely different. Rather than the circular windows most plans have now, the cabin windows could become an interactive system with help from technology. This comes from a patent filed by Airbus in 2014. The patent application says the cabin windows could become display screens.
On these windows, information would pop up about the places you are flying over now. For example, if you flew by New York you may receive a little Wikipedia page about the history of the city.
Another patent filed by the same company reveals that the front of the aircraft could be entirely redesigned. The big change is moving the cockpit away from the front. This is due to a potential shift in the shape of planes. In order to improve how aerodynamic planes are, they could become the shape of lancets. This would make it impossible to place the cockpit at the front of the plane.
Instead, the cockpit would either be at the bottom of the cabin or at the back of the aircraft. The pilots would fly using a virtual screen instead. It’s scary to think that the pilot may not have a real-life view of what’s in front, which is why this change is likely to be among the slowest to be implemented by commercial airlines.
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