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Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

The cool (and not so cool) ways flying is about to change

by July 26, 2017 General

Low-cost airlines, skycouches, viral inflight safety videos – flying has changed a lot in the past few years. But if you thought those were big game-changers, hang on tight, the best is yet to come.

The Telegraph in the UK has compiled a list of 18 ways flying is going to change in the next few years and some interesting moves are already afoot.

No passport, no worries
Within the next five years, expect to see the end of passports. And the world will breathe a collective sigh of relief over not having to remember to renew another document.

With advances in face-recognition technology, we will slowly see “contactless” passport control take over.


Australia is planning to test a system that allows passengers to simply walk through as computers read biometric cues and check faces against databases of electronic passports. The system might begin testing as early as March 2019.

In-flight gyms
If you have been paying any attention to Instagram – or any social media, for that matter – you know you should be working out right now. Planes may soon be fitted out with exercise bikes so you can stay in shape while you fly.

In-flight baristas
Just because you’re crossing time zones it doesn’t mean you deserve the terrible coffee you’ve been getting on the plane. Collaborations with major coffee chains such as Starbucks might be the future of air travel, so you might soon be able to order your artisanal, organic, double-shot soy flat white.

Flight time turns play time
The Telegraph also mentions Airbus is looking into creating designated play areas for children on the plane.

Get paid to fly
This may sound a little too good to be true but it probably won’t be. An Icelandic low-cost airline, WOW, says airline revenue from other services (such as car hire and hotels) will soon be more important than what the airline charges for seats on the plane, so those may be given away -for as little as a social media post about them.

Low-cost long-haul
If you don’t mind being uncomfortable for a considerable amount of time (think “long weekends with your mother-in-law” but worse), this could be the ideal travel scenario for you. A number of low-cost airlines are expanding into the long-haul space and that trend is expected to continue so you could soon be heading to far-flung destinations for a lot fewer dollars.

Direct link to Down Under
Long long-haul flights are becoming a reality. The first London to Perth non-stop direct flight is about to be reality from March 2018 when Qantas launches the service.

Destination: Outer Space
The Telegraph points out it won’t be too long before you can book a ticket to space. SpaceX has its first journey to the moon booked for 2018 and, for an incredible amount of money, you can join the expedition.

Keep calm, someone else will carry the carry on
A new company, AirPortr, is promising to take your bags to the airport for you. It will start operating in Heathrow in October and allow customers to check their bags all the way from home and only see them again at their final destination.

Better view even from the cheap seats
According to the Telegraph, Fokker Technologies has developed the Skyview Panorami for Boeing, which promises better views from much larger plane windows. The service will only be available for business class at first, but who’s to say it won’t get to the back of the plane?

Better airports
If you have ever been to Changi Airport in Singapore, you may have seen its rainforest inside an otherwise boring could-be-anywhere terminal. Gardens and forests are planned for other airports, meaning your lay-overs could soon become little trips in themselves.

Standing on flights
The Telegraph says VivaColombia is one airline carrier already showing interest in what they call “vertical seating”, which will look a lot like perching on a bar stool.

Supersonic flying
It sounds a lot like something out of futurist films but it could be a reality sooner than you think. Sir Richard Branson backed a start-up last year that has released a prototype supersonic jet and research in this field continues. The company is already talking about flying from New York to London in 3.5 hours.

Biofuels all the way
The use of biofuels will, in the future, reduce pollution and make air travel cleaner and more efficient. Nasa is already running tests on some new types of cleaner fuel that can reduce black carbon by as much as 50 percent.

No more security checks
It might not seem that way, judging by recent headlines of laptop bans and all other kinds of disruption, but in the future, airports might not need to do security checks on people. They’ll track passengers using their wi-fi connection.

More flight delays
It’s not all good news. The Telegraph also points out the future of air travel will also include more flight delays. In fact, National Air Traffic Services in the UK predicts that, as air travel becomes cheaper and more popular, UK airports will be “44 times worse by 2030”. Pack a book.

More turbulence
Something else to blame on climate change. An increase in jet-stream winds is expected to cause more turbulence, so get ready to fasten that seatbelt a lot more often.

Pilotless planes
This one is, thankfully, a long way off but experts assure us it’s on the way. Just as self-driving cars are now a reality, the Telegraph says planes will stop needing pilots within the next 50 years.