Written by Alex Fisher
Air travelers have had quite a year with plenty of action over the last few. We all remember the passenger that was abusively dragged off of a flight in one case. Because of events like these, we have seen a lot of changes in the last couple years, and it grows more interesting every year. Recent technology has contributed to make air travel more convenient than ever before. What’s more exciting is how emerging technology has the potential to make going from point A to point B much easier and more comfortable than ever before.
Talking Your Way onto the Flight
Amazon developed a revolutionary technology where we can bark our questions to a speaker that responds to the name Alexa and answers all of your questions. Google and Apple have also been developing products in the voice command industry. This voice-enabled technology might now help you with airline reservations for travels. Some of the giants like Kayak and Expedia have already begun to enable screen-free searches that will be a valuable alternative to what used to be a clunky and frustrating web search comparison experience. With the voice command industry growing the ability to search and compare airlines, flights, and rates will only get easier, all without you lifting a finger.
Checking in is a Problem of the Past
Whether you choose to do it online through a kiosk or in person, most people have always thought that they had to check in with the airline before getting started. However, this simply isn’t true anymore. Airlines have now figured out a way that they can eliminate this obnoxious drill. Ed Bastian, the CEO from Delta Airlines said that after you have booked and paid for it, they know who are you. You don’t need to check in. The only prerequisite to making this happen is that you download the app from Delta. After you have done this the airline will automatically check you in 24 hours before the departure date and the boarding pass will show up on your mobile device. It’s more convenient than what it ever used to be. Passengers of Southwest Airlines also have this option as the “Early Bird” customer.
Speeding Things up Through Biometric Identification
Some airlines are beginning to implement and take full advantage of biometric technology including JetBlue, Delta and several others. This system will conduct a few scans like iris and fingerprints as a way of speeding up the security screening for the passengers. This starts with the people who have already gone through the TSA PreCheck status. Lufthansa and KLM have recently begun experimenting with facial biometric boarding procedures. They will scan the passengers’ faces as a way of speeding up the boarding time. Basically, the fliers interested will register at the airport by scanning their documents and scanning their face right at the kiosk. Once it’s their turn to board, they can stroll through a separate gate for self-service boarding hassle free.
Waiting Grows More Pleasant
Most people talk about how frustrated they feel at the airports with the long waiting lines. You can now use the Wayfinder beacons found around the airport terminal as a way of predicting how long you will have to wait and to help you to find your gate. You will also receive an estimate for the length of time that it takes to walk from the airport lounge over to your gate. Airports have also begun to offer some excellent distractions in the process and have introduced apps such as AtYourGate and Airport Sherpa. These companies will deliver food to the gate from a variety of different eateries on site. In fact, a number of hubs like Houston and Newark Airport have taken to installing iPads that will allow for you to order food.
In-Flight Wi-Fi is Only Getting Better
If you’ve ever used the wifi on a plane—or not used it because of technical problems—things could soon change for the better. The wifi available on airplanes will get much better similar to at-home speeds and bandwidth. Some of the insiders have talked about how 2018 will be the year for this new technology. They will however, charge for this kind of wi-fi, but reports say that it will be anywhere in the $10 to $30 range. It largely depends on how long the flight is. Some of the other in-flight internet providers have also been upping their game in this field. Delta is working with a company called Gogo to provide satellite-based wifi to passengers during all flights with speeds as high as 70 megabits per second. You can also expect free texting to take off.
Private Charters More Affordable
That’s right private travel is now more affordable than ever before. We’re seeing a variety of new technologies disrupt long-standing industries and they are beginning to do the same here. International travelers now have more choices than ever before with charter flight routes expanding. What’s great is the rise of new competition in the private airline field has helped to lower the prices to charter a private jet. Everyone has heard of Uber, similar companies have emerged to perform flight-sharing on charters to lower the cost per passenger to compete with commercial airlines.
Decreasing Flight Times
One of the latest technologies that could soon hit the market is what’s known as a supersonic jetliner. It will have the ability to fly nonstop from New York City to London in three hours and fifteen minutes. It can even fly from San Francisco to Tokyo in under six hours. Known as the XB-1, the aircraft will likely enter the commercial scene in the mid-2020s. In fact, 76 of these aircraft have already been pre-ordered. Boom has already received $51 million toward funding this aircraft, and it will have a lightweight and a composite design. In addition, this aircraft is luxurious like flying private more so than business class.
Think the above technology is cool? Just wait until cryptocurrencies and smart contracts enter the industry to eliminate overbooking, create easy transactions and flight transfers. Add in VR to see what your seat and plane looks like ahead of time and most if not all of your stressors would be handled. If you’re worried about losing your luggage, they already have trackers you can use on your bags to track its transit. Technology is on the way to make your travels easy, comfortable and a truly unique experience.
About the Author:
Alex is a travel enthusiast and writes with Chapman Freeborn, the global aircraft charter specialists. He stays on top of emerging technologies and enjoys sharing his discoveries through his writings and photography.