Airbus has seen the future, and it’s spacious, sunlit and full of interactive screens. Oh, and cocktails will be served in the virtual bar, assuming someone isn’t playing 18 holes in there.
After revealing its larger vision of what aviation hardware will offer us in 2050 at last year’s Paris Air Show–reduced emissions, lower fuel consumption, reductions in noise and increases in speed–the company has turned its attention toward the passenger experience, offering a sneak peak of the future via the video below.
What does the future have in store? Well, assuming populations begin growing less obese and the economics of packing as many people on a flight as possible are discarded (in the future, air travel–like society–will know no class), the future is much more comfortable.
When flights are at less than full capacity, unneeded seats at the rear of the plane will collapse and all seats will redistribute themselves to offer everyone an equitable boost in legroom. These seats will also morph to fit passengers’ bodies.
Those who need something more than a spacious, morphing seat in steerage will be free to join others in the interaction area, which can be anything from an interactive map room to a virtual golf course to a conference room or bar/lounge, depending on what passengers require. And a “revitalizing zone” in the nose of the aircraft offers panoramic views of the Earth below while re-energizing travelers with “vitamin and antioxidant enriched air, mood lighting, aromatherapy and acupressure treatments.” Right.
But perhaps the most easily digestible part of this vision is the structure of the aircraft itself, which taps a largely-hollow, lightweight bionic structure that mimics the bones in birds and could allow for the kind of transparent canopy pictured above. Airbus isn’t sure what it would be made of yet, but it could be 3-D printed–a technology that we know Airbus’s parent firm EADS is investing heavily in.