A virtual air hostess; an electronic travel buddy; body-morphing aircraft seat; and a self-operating revolutionary Siri that automatically creates holiday plans when she feels like you need one.
If it wasn’t clear, we’re heading into a new world that relies entirely on electronic devices to survive.
But it won’t just be our day-to-day lives that are in for a total shake-up but the way we travel.
Skyscanner has launched the second part of its ‘Future of Travel 2024’ report, which looks at the way the flying and airport experience is set to change over the next ten years.
Here is what’s waiting for you on the other side of the next decade.
From home to airport: the taxi
A taxi ride in 2014 is pretty much just you, your taxi driver and a car.
In 2024 the taxi you can expect a whole lot more, with a 3D screen installed in the back seat plus a voice-controlled Internet system.
This will keep you in touch with family and friend the entire trip!
At the airport: check-in
Say farewell to the check-in lines and check-in desks themselves. In ten years time you will be able to drop your bag off at automated points all over the terminal complex and check-in using a voice command to your AI (artificial intelligence) device.
You can already see this system falling into place, with online check-in already in place. British Airways and Microsoft are also already collaborating to test smartphone activated digital bag tags that will eliminate paper tags, tickets and boarding cards entirely.
At the airport: passport
“Remember when we had passports!” Yep, they’re on their way out too. Airlines will soon be equipped with a biometric immigration system, which uses facial recognition to allow guests to board.
Future generations will be asking, what’s a boarding pass? Because they too will be scrapped in favour of a machine-readable passport.
“An entirely automated airport journey will see the passenger take complete control, while an optimized team of multilingual and multi-skilled airport staff will concentrate on assisting those who need it,” Airbiz managing director Greg Fordham said.
“Automated and self-service processes will virtually eliminate lines too, and with every traveler processing himself in one common-use area, the airport journey will take less time.”
At the airport: security
X-ray scanners are out and facial recognition software is in.
The digital security system will monitor people’s facial expressions and body movements to determine whether passengers are stressed, carrying contraband or likely to cause a security risk at the airport or on the plane.
Laser molecular body scanners currently being installed at US airports work faster than X-ray machines and can scan a passenger from 160-feet away.
The laser machine will also be used to scan luggage.
At the airport: duty free
Shopping and eating experiences at the airport will be a mixture of physical and digital using a technique called ‘Phygital’.
US fashion retailer Forever 21 as well as Adidas have introduced a new window display that allow customers to buy an item simply by pointing their smartphone at it.
Airports have something similar in mind that’s a little more detailed.
Food and shopping will be displayed virtually with a system that will also release individual smells from the exact place within a product you would expect to find that smell. For example leather from the tip of a show or from inside a handbag.
There’s also be virtual
The system will be so advanced, that holidaymakers will be able to order food or goods with the wave of a hand or by a simple verbal command.
“Every second of the airport journey will be valuable. Without spending their time in lines, passengers will truly be able to embrace evermore enticing food and beverage and retail offers,” says Greg Fordham of Airbiz.
“Passenger spend will soar, and airport commercial areas will evolve to deliver experiences unmatched anywhere else.”
Time to fly
It’s time to board the plane but you’re fast asleep, no problem, the airline will just send a 3D hologram of a member of the airport’s staff to tell you that your flight is waiting for you.
Other holograms – individually keyed in to you travel plans through your wearable AI device – guide you from your seat in the airport, through the terminal and to your boarding gate.
Personal guidance systems are already being introduced. At Copenhagen Airport, a wayfinder smartphone app guides each user on the fastest and easiest route from anywhere in the airport to their departure gate.
Cabin and seating will be changed beyond recognition by 2024. You won’t need to adjust your seat because all aircraft seats and now equipped with a mold memory foam-style that fits to your body shape.
Cabin smart lighting has been installed to eliminate the effects of jetlag by using lights that produce the sleep hormone.
Each seat will have its own individual climate control, as well as a holographic communications and entertainment system hub that allows passengers to have conversations with friends and family at home or play the films and music of their choice.
Worried about speaking too loud? Well don’t! Because there’ll also be sonic disrupters embedded in each seat that prevents other passengers from hearing your conversation, while haptic gloves will allow you to touch children, hug a family member or shake hands with a business colleague while you’re on the move.
Cabins will still be divided into different zones, however, the division will be based on those who want to relax, mingle or eat food.
Today we may be keen to have Internet onboard the plane, but in 2024 it will be an expectation, because next generation 5G connectivity will become available on aircraft and each seat will be a combination of mobile living room and virtual office, pre-loaded with personalized multimedia films, music and data.
A Skype-style hologram system will allow real-time chats with TOM’s nearest and dearest.
We can’t wait to see what cruise ships will look like in the next ten years!
Keen for the next decade to come around or a little frightened of all the technology? Let us know what you think of the changes to air travel in the comment below.
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