Ask anyone in an airport if they think the present state of air travel is all roses and you’ll hear a variety of responses ranging from “please medicate me” to “tolerable”. Fact is, most people have their share of horror stories regarding airports. From parking, to security, to delays, a vacation is kind of like the spoils of war, you won the battle and now you get to enjoy your plunders. So, I found myself wondering, what can we expect from an industry that has gone from glamour to gut wrenching over the course of its history? For answers I spoke with FlightHub, an online travel agency that has heard it all when it comes to airport mishaps, misfortunes, and missed flights. They had an optimistic view of the future when it came to technology and the future of air travel.
Electric, Hybrid, And Automated Aircraft
According to FlightHub’s review, countless designers and engineers are working on integrating electric, hybrid, and biofuel engines into the airline industry. While today’s price of oil has led to hopes of reduced costs for air travel they have yet to come to fruition and are still subject the variations of the global marketplace. While motors, batteries, and components for these high tech flying machines are still a ways off, they could bring stability in terms of pricing while reducing the massive amount of emissions attributed to the airline industry. In terms of piloting, automation exists today in flying craft. Unfortunately, the application is something attributed to something of a boogeyman term, drones. The technology is there, but it comes at costs that aren’t as much dollars, but perception. This is why FlightHub thinks drone transport may have a more practical application in cargo transport.
Flying Higher And Faster
One thing customers hate is the concept of long flight times or connections. I have personally vetoed a vacation on these grounds. While supersonic and hypersonic speeds are possible in military craft, applying these concepts to passenger flight is a ways off due to comfort, safety, and noise issues. A more promising lead is the adoption of sub-orbital and orbital flight. While you might think this type of travel is limited to astronauts, it’s possible that planes or future aircraft could be adapted for sub-orbital flight, decreasing flight times and increasing efficiency in lockstep.
More Customer Friendly
Now something for the flyers on the ground. There are all kinds of amenities that could be become part of modern airports today. Simple things like showers, meeting areas for business meetings, and accommodations on site could make for a much more enjoyable and convenient experience for flyers. Other improvements could be found in integrating technology for entertainment purposes because face it, a book store and cheap booze doesn’t cut it. Likewise, an overhaul of the boarding and security screening process would go a long way for the average flyer who is simply trying to get from point a to point b according to FlightHub.