Family pods? A gym to work out in? Standing only passengers?
The future of air travel is constantly evolving and if you can imagine it – the chances are that the airlines have already thought of it. At a time when flying for both business and leisure is at an all time high, airlines are introducing novel ways to provide new experiences and increase capacity.
One of the main drivers for more creative cabin configuration is the increasing push towards long-haul, non-stop flights – something especially relevant to Australian travellers. Now Qantas has a Perth direct to London route, the next step is an East Coast to London or New York flight – something Qantas hopes to achieve in the next four years.
With these flights being over 20 hours long, the airline says a range of cabin options could be looked at in the future including turning the cargo hold into a new cabin class with sleeping pods and areas for passengers to exercise.
Other innovations airlines and aircraft designers are exploring include a seating reconfiguration system with folding seats that cabin crew could deploy or store away quickly, according to the actual number of passengers on the flight. Budget airline Ryanair has even considered including areas for standing only passengers at super cheap prices, on short haul flights around Europe.
While first class and business class cabins have undergone many changes in the past five years, airlines are now looking at the economy market. Another trend gaining popularity is the ability to provide passengers with more control over their own in-flight environment including temperature, light, noise and privacy to help them cope better with jetlag.
A number of industry insiders also believe that in the next 10 years we’ll see the introduction of virtual reality technology that will allow passengers to be ‘transported’ to another more relaxing environment while flying. So stay tuned!