Future of travel: Changes coming to airports, planes in next 10 years

What if airports transform into aerovilles in the next 10 years? Maybe you’ll arrive 3 hours before your flight just to visit an interesting exhibition, swim in the pool or watch a movie.

Future of travel

And don’t worry about your flight: plane cabins will change so dramatically that your noisy neighbors won’t bother you, you’ll be able to sit even 15 hours without feeling uncomfortable, and jetlag will become a scary story from the past.

Futurologists, airport designers and the Skyscanner team predict the “Future of travel”. Read the newest chapter of our report and find out how airplanes and airports will change by 2024.

Future of travel

Exhibitions, cinemas and shopping at the airport
Today we regard airports usually as places where we must spend time before our flight. But this attitude will radically change soon as airports will become an interesting, if not the best, part of your journey.

By 2024, most major airports will let you not only kill time in a bar or at Starbucks, but you could catch a flick at a movie theater, relax by doing yoga or take a dip in a swimming pool. The exhibition at Netherland’s Schiphol airport with the masterpieces of Dutch artists, five-story high vertical garden, 4 movie theaters and a roof-top swimming pool at Changi airport – these are just the forerunners of the amazing aerovilles of the future infrastructure.

The revolution will also concern duty free shops. These stores will be transformed into giant virtual shopping walls where you can buy anything and schedule it to be delivered straight to your home. You’ll not only be able to see items from any possible angle on the wall, but also touch and smell them. Think it’s too good to be true? Well, Disney is taking the first steps in recording and reconstructing tactile qualities.

Future of travel

Check-in and customs control 
Imagine checking in for your flight in mere seconds. That’s what we’re heading for in 10 years. Development of the biometric technologies including facial recognition and integrating it with smartphones and electronic tickets will make long check-in lines disappear. 

Passengers having to take off their shoes and belts or being scanned by metal detectors will be a thing of the past. Modern molecular scanners will replace X-ray machines and will tell the chemical composition of luggage. It will recognise forbidden items 10 million times faster than now. This technology is already on the market and some gadgets are not larger than a regular USB flash drives.

Baggage check-in and other boring formalities will stay in the past when digital tags replace regular baggage labels. British Airways and Microsoft have already made the first step towards this with digital tags that would remind you of your standard smartphone. 

In the near future luggage will come with digital tags already built into the suitcase. After that smart-suitcases will be introduced with an ability to “communicate” with household appliances via wireless. That means your washing machine will know you’re bringing home a T-shirt with some sunscreen stains. Hotels will also be able to use the technology to things which toiletries you will need for your stay before you’ve even arrived at the front desk. 

Future of travel

Farwell jet lag: planes of the future 
Forget economy and business class. The cabin of future planes will be divided into different zones. One of them will allow travellers to chat, play games or watch movies. Another will be reserved for relaxing and sleeping. Airbus has already created the concept cabin of such an aircraft, where passenger may even play some golf or tennis.

Seats of the next generation will be equipped with individual climate control, holographic communications and entertainment hubs. Morphing seats will fit a traveler’s body like a glove and built-in noise-suppressing systems will banish outside sounds. That means the restless child sitting behind you or a snoring neighbor will not bother you, assuring you can have a good rest. Cabin smart lighting will include lamps that produce melatonin. Such light and a good rest will eliminate jet lag forever.

New 5G connectivity standard will become a part of regular on-board service. The result is having Internet connectivity in the air that’s nearly the same as it is on the ground. Many airlines have already loosen or cancelled the ban on using electronics during the flight. By 2024 it may disappear altogether and let us watch movies or shows, browse work documents or chat with friends in a way we are used to. 

Find out more on how airports and planes will change in the future from the second chapter of Skyscanner “Future of Travel” report. The first part of this three-part report revealed how planning and booking your travel will change in the future: from smart contact lenses and scents transfer to tactile qualities simulation and holographic personal assistants.

The next chapter will be dedicated to future travel destinations, futuristic hotels and space travels. Sign up for the news and be the first to see the future!