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The Future Of Air Travel, Maybe

by on June 14, 2011

What’s the airplane of the future going to be like? Airbus has this little video showing what it sees for the future:

Apparently, it involves smart seats that swivel and sense stuff and clean themselves and move around to spread out in the unlikely event that there are any unused seats (at least, every flight I’ve taken in the last few years was packed solid), and gesture recognition in a Kinect/Minority Report/CSI: Miami fashion. The fuselage will be transparent, so you can see the stars and stuff above you and the cities and plains and oceans and clouds below. Holograms abound. You’ll be able to pick your theme and be transported into your own little happy place.

Big freakin’ deal. I just flew back and forth across the country a few days ago, and I don’t care about themes or holograms or seeing the Grand Canyon. I want a seat that isn’t so cramped that I can’t open my laptop all the way because the person in front of me is reclining. I want space for my knees.  I want to be able to use both armrests. I want the kid two rows back to shut up, the person next to me to use deodorant, and to not have to race onto the plane to get enough overhead bin space for my one standard-sized bag. I want power outlets at all seats and Wi-Fi that isn’t molasses-slow. I want the satellite TV on the seat backs to have more than a handful of channels, and for the picture not to be filled with digital artifacts and in stretch-o-vision. I want free upgrades to first class the way it used to be, when you could get them just by being nice to the gate agent. I want the plane to not have to sit on the tarmac waiting for a gate for a half-hour because the airport was somehow unprepared for our arrival.  And I want to be able to get to the plane less than three hours in advance and through security without an interminable wait.

Fix all that, and then we’ll talk about holographic themes.

HT: Popular Science