Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What can we expect in the future for air travel?

With the prospect of smaller seats on the Airbus A320 aircraft to accommodate two larger seats in each row of larger passengers, the question rears its head time and time again. How will we be travelling in years to come?

At the recent Farnborough airshow, Richard Branson announced plans to make sending satellites into space, much more affordable. This on top of the fact that thousands of people have already signed up to Virgin Galactic’s

journey’s into space makes me wonder if it won’t be long before the general public will be landing on the moon for their holidays.

A dedicated airport
Out in the New Mexico desert, Spaceport America was built in 2005 with the aim to help develop Branson’s idea of making space travel possible for everyone. Granted the tickets are still $200,000 a pop but it makes it that little bit more achievable for the rest of us. The spaceships do look very futuristic and is definitely a glance into the future.

Now back to travel around the world and it’s predicted to get much faster and easier. Concorde was able to fly between New York and London in just 3 hours and 30 mins. Despite being withdrawn from service by both Air France and British Airways, concorde was definitely a glance into the future of travel. Future concept aircraft and aviation experts are expecting air travel that will be much faster than this. Concept aircraft include the emission free Zhest rocketplane that will shoot it’s passengers to up to 20 miles in altitude before gliding back down to earth. The speed? Only about 3,000mph which would mean a flight between Paris and Tokyo could take as little as two and a half hours. Some reports even suggest aircraft will be able to get up to speeds of 4,000mph which is five times the speed of sound.

Talking of zero emissions, recently, the Solar Impulse aircraft landed back in Payerne, Switzerland following it’s 4,000 mile journey to North Africa and back, powered only by solar panels. The 11,000 solar cells and four electric motors propelled it to Spain and then onto Morocco before returning to its Swiss home. Granted the journey did start in May and only end in July, however, this is obviously a huge step forward in creating eco-friendly air travel.

As aircraft get bigger, the facilities available on board increase. How about a shower? A buffet? Why not take in an art gallery? That’s right, they are thinking up all weird and wonderful ways of keeping you entertained on those long flights. The Airbus A380 has really stirred things up in the aviation industry with its spacious cabins and full double decker designs but what will come next? Full on spa treatments? A games room for kids? One or two airlines now also offer private suites in the first class cabins. A step away from basically having your own room on-board, these private suites offer all the privacy you need with sliding doors as well as ample room to stretch out, relax and fall asleep.

As technology develops, we will definitely see more and more inventive ways for travelling and even if you aren’t blessed with your own private jet, it probably won’t be long before you start to see business meetings taking place or passengers practising their tennis on the Wii on future aircraft. What else do you think we should expect from our future aircraft?