HERE’S A pleasant thought: in the next decade or so, taking a flight will no longer be the time-wasting, stressful experience it currently is. Technology, as per a new report by Skyscanner, is going to eliminate many of the hassles associated with modern-day airline travel. Airports of the future will see an entirely automated airport journey where passengers will have more of a say than they do now, with technology eliminating check-in desks and queues, and speeding up the process. For a start, biometric identity cards will replace passports and allow passport officials a speedier way to access data and allow passengers through. Further, passengers will be able to check-in and drop off their bags at a number of designated points in the city they are leaving from, and not just at the airport. They can then use their smartphones to monitor the luggage, as well as the queues at security. This will allow them to select the most convenient and fastest way to get to their departure gates. The report also says that more and more products will be connected to the Internet and to each other, allowing devices to ‘talk to one another’. This means that digital luggage tags on suitcases will include all flight details and destination information, allowing passengers to track their bags throughout their journey. These systems, along with biometric identity cards, will ensure much more efficient, pleasant and faster airport journeys.
The real experience will begin once passengers are finished with security. Skyscanner predicts that departure halls will become the start of the holiday experience with mood-lifting spaces full of art galleries and gardens, swimming pools and spas, as well as 3D cinemas and yoga retreats for those facing delayed flights. The new, expansive, open buildings that will constitute the airports of the future are being termed Aerovilles, and experts say that they will become mainstream airports by 2024. The report forecasts that new haptic technology will allow passengers to smell, feel and see the products they want to buy before they even enter the retail outlet. To add to this, ‘phygital’ technology—physical and digital retail techniques—means travellers will also be able order goods with a simple verbal command. Once onboard, technology will allow passengers to hold Skype-style conversations with family or business colleagues during their flights. Finally, airlines will be offering ‘morphing seats’ which will provide different levels of comfort based on individual