The future of travel: the latest in travel tech and transportation

Today’s technology is rapidly changing how we travel. momondo uncovers the latest in travel tech to show travellers what they can look forward to in the near future

The future of travel will look very different in the coming years!

The future of travel will look very different in the coming years!

Category Tips & tricks

Date 28th June 2017

Gone are the days when a trip across the ocean was a full-blown affair. Fifty years ago, travelers would dress in their fanciest attire to board a cross-continental flight, which was, of course, complete with endless free drinks and a hefty price tag. Back in those days getting on an airplane was a rare opportunity for the average person and was therefore treated as a very special occasion.

Today, flights are more affordable than ever and travelers hop on planes without giving it a second thought. We’re living in the golden age of travel – with travel tech constantly improving and advances in transportation making it easier to get around the world.

With innovation and technology rising at incredible rates, what can we expect in the next few years? Supersonic jets, standing-room cabins, free Wi-Fi on every flight? momondo digs into the latest tech and travel trends to uncover the real future of travel.

How things have changed

Flying was more expensive and a lot less common just a few decades ago © ierdnall
Flying was more expensive and a lot less common just a few decades ago © ierdnall

A quick glimpse into the past will reveal just how fast things have changed. For starters, researching where to go used to involve checking out travel books in the library, looking at maps, and speaking face-to-face with travel agents for inspiration. After finally settling on a destination, travelers would then have to go into a travel agency or call the airlines and hotels themselves to set up tickets and reservations.

Today it’s much easier. Many travelers rely heavily on social media, apps, online guidebooks, and articles for ideas on where to go next. With flights, accommodation, and even car hire all just a few clicks away, booking a holiday happens much faster and with more ease.

The future of travel tech

Commercial supersonic jets will soon be on their way to an airport near you © Boom
Commercial supersonic jets will soon be on their way to an airport near you © Boom

Advances in technology do not simply make it easier for us to plan and book travel, but also change the very way we get from place to place. So should we expect to see robots flying our planes in the next fifty years? Maybe not that soon, but robot co-pilots are already being tested on some planes and we can only expect interest and investment in robotic technology to increase throughout the years.

While we may not be greeting robot pilots on our next flight, there are many other technological developments currently under way. Recently, Airbus filed a patent for foldable wings, which would let planes to maneuver around airports more easily. Imagine cutting down the time from touchdown to disembarkment to just mere minutes as the airplane gracefully glides right up to the gate without having to awkwardly navigate around other planes, cargo trucks, and airport personnel.

Supersonic jets (you know the ones that travel faster than the speed of sound) have been around for years. Although commercial supersonic planes probably won’t show up within the next 20 or even 50 years, the blueprints are already being scoped. Start-ups like Boom are developing the technology that would allow passenger planes to fly at supersonic speeds, cutting average travel times almost in half.

A new “athlete’s plane” is also in the works. Developed in cooperation with Nike, it will include a training room, in-flight biometrics analysis, and sleeping pods designed specifically for athletes. All of the plane’s features are designed to help athletes arrive rested and ready to compete after enduring several hours of travel, which can be physically demanding on the body.

Boeing's Dreamliner features larger windows, automatic dimming lights and extra legroom © rmhauch
Boeing’s Dreamliner features larger windows, automatic dimming lights, and extra legroom © rmhauch

And good news for those who are afraid of flying, in the future there will be significantly less to almost no turbulence. Already there is technology being developed that can look at air patterns hundreds of miles ahead, which would help pilots divert from unusually choppy conditions in the air. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is one example of such an airplane that already has features to help lessen the movement of turbulence. It uses advanced accelerometers on the nose of the plane which can register any sudden drops and adjust the wing flaps in nanoseconds to significantly reduce the impact.

Another interesting point to consider is that soon planes will be able to take off vertically without a runway by using the same technology seen in helicopters. Travelers could land in places that were previously inaccessible or hard to get to, opening up a whole new world of uncharted lands.

Plane interior

Larger TVs, individual arm rests and more leg room - what more could you ask for?
Larger TVs, individual arm rests, and more leg room – what more could you ask for?

Gone will be the days of fighting over the elbow rest with your neighbors. In the future, planes will have two elbow rests for each passenger, built at different levels so as not to bump elbows with the person sitting next to you. Imagine the freedom!

Plane seats on many airlines have gotten progressively thinner throughout the years and will continue to follow the same trend in the coming years. These lighter and thinner frames will not only help airlines save on fuel, but they will also allow the airlines to fit more people on the plane. Some skeptics argue that this might cause over-crowding or less legroom for the passengers, but having more passengers would allow the airlines to offer their seats at more affordable costs, which is ultimately a good thing, right?

Speaking of seats, Zodiac Seats France has filed a patent for a new system they call “Economy Class Cabin Hexagon.” These foldable, cinema-style seats are constructed so that passengers will face each other, similar to a train or metro setup. Supposedly, this would give passengers up to 15% more legroom, but could also leave them stuck making awkward eye contact with the people in front of them. At the moment, this is just a patent and there are no immediate plans to make these seats public, so feel free to save your awkward stares for another time.

With so much flight technology being developed each day, it’s impossible to know exactly what the future of travel will look like. One thing is for certain though, we can all be excited for what the future of the aviation industry holds and look forward to the newest inventions in the years to come.

In the meantime, you can transport yourself to the future by staying at one of these futuristic hotels. What are you waiting for?

Originally published

28th June 2017