As British Airways
prepares to celebrate 100 years of flying on August 25, the airline is exploring predictions
for the air travel experience 20, 40, 60 and even 100 years in the future.
The short answer is - it could
be very different than air travel today.
Through surveys of 13,000
consumers conducted by Foresight Factor across ten countries, and from
interviews with industry experts and futurists, the airline has published the BA
2119: Flight of the Future Report.
Among the key findings –
consumers want to be able to personalize their flying experience much more than
they can today.
One possibility will be
services customized based on the traveler’s DNA. The report states that by
2025, 75% of people will use or be interested in using a service that provides
personalized health advice based on their DNA.
will open up a range of new data that airlines can use to provide a hyper-personalized
service to each individual customer,” it says.
Looking further into the future, the report suggests that by
2069, airplane seats will have biological scanners to detect a passenger’s physiological
and nutritional needs and suggest appropriate food and drinks.
Seats will also be equipped with tablet computers that can
be personalized for the traveler to use for work or entertainment, and
holographic flight attendants will handle simple requests to free cabin crew
for more complex interactions.
The report says 3D printers will also become common on
planes, used to prepare food and print personalized health supplements such as melatonin
to address jet lag.
“In the last ten years
alone, the airline industry and flight experience has changed in so many
significant ways, including improved fuel efficiency, noise reduction, in cabin
design and luxury. It is therefore not hard to see how, at this rate of
progress, these seemingly unreal predictions will come true,” says British
Airways’ chairman and chief executive Alex Cruz.
Respondents also indicate
future air travel will integrate technology in ways that provide much more convenience
before, during and after a trip.
The report says
passengers will travel via Hyperloop straight to the airfield and slotted into
their assigned space on board the aircraft. During that travel, the passenger’s
Hyperloop compartment will travel through a tunnel with sensors that handle
safety and security screenings automatically. The passenger’s luggage would
also be picked up from home or office and transported via Hyperloop onto the plane.
innovative use of the Hyperloop transit system, which will be present in most
major cities, commuters will avoid any roadblocks and delays on their journey,
enabling them to cover intercontinental journeys in half of current time scales
or less,” the report states.
But while supersonic jets will make air travel faster than
ever, the report says within 50 years there will also be an interest in slow, experiential
flights, for example for travelers beginning a holiday.
Dubbed “air cruises,” these flights will go slowly over
areas of interest such as the pyramids in Egypt, while passengers use virtual
reality headsets on board for an immersive commentary on what they are seeing.
The report states, “Slower, experiential flights will
require new forms of entertainment or activity to maintain interest.” One idea
from futurists: zones on board the aircraft dedicated to entertainment, education
– for example about the destination - and health activities such as yoga that
help passengers feel better at the end of the trip.