Qantas’ new non-stop flight from Perth to London represents the next step in air travel where long-haul takes on a whole new meaning. Seventeen hours of continuous flying is going to be a test for the aircrew, the passengers and the aircraft itself.
But it will quickly become the new normal. SIA can’t wait to get its’ brand new Airbus airborne so it can resume its marathon Singapore – New York route so ratcheting up non-stop flying by a further two hours to nineteen hours.
In addition to long-haul and even ultra long-haul becoming the norm, what other developments are in the air?
Blink and you’ll miss them because supersonic aircraft are just around the corner. And they will be going very fast indeed. So fast that they’ll probably cover New York to London in just 3 1/2 hours. The initial air fares on these aircraft will probably be beyond the reach of the average passenger but with airlines already queuing up to place orders (industry estimates suggest there is already sufficient demand for 1,300 such aircraft) then it won’t take long for prices to tumble.
Individual windows (or port holes) will be so last century as the new breed of aircraft are being designed to be windowless so that all the walls and ceiling panels carry giant digital displays. Sounds overwhelming? Don’t worry, you’ll be able to travel in cabins configured by function, such as family, senior or group ‘zones’ or in multipurpose spaces for relaxation and self-service.
And let’s not forget the relentless march of technology. Security will be heightened and made less obtrusive when operated through artificial intelligence, including facial recognition, retinal and fingerprint scanning, whilst the then ubiquitous mobile apps will allow for real-time tracking of arrivals and departures. Finally, expect wearable technology to trace your every movement and provide a ‘personalised experience onboard’. Should be fun, huh?