Windowless planes in the next 10 years is a real possibility
November 6, 2014
Technology continues to change the way we travel, and with technology always evolving, it makes us wonder what the future holds. The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) gives a glimpse into the future of air travel with its windowless plane concept.
Having trouble visualizing what a windowless plane would actually look like?
Imagine a cabin where the windows are display screens, relaying a choice of views from around the aircraft. If you’re not sitting in a window seat, your large seat-back display becomes your window on the world as well as a source of entertainment.
Supplement this with subtle cabin lighting from gently glowing walls, and you create a unique travel environment. Screens that are ultra-thin, very light, and highly flexible are integrated with the fuselage or the seat backs with no unsightly, clumsy, or heavy housings.
It’s an intriguing concept. No longer will passengers fight for the window seat or be limited to a tiny window to get a glimpse of the view. It also adds a new element to in-flight entertainment, something that should be welcomed by all frequent flyers.
Another company, Technicon Design, also recently released similar plans to develop a windowless plane. These planes would use flexible screens to cover the walls and the ceiling of the cabin.
Potential features of windowless planes
The concepts being developed by these companies open the door to a number of potential display features that would enhance the in-flight experience. They include:
A panoramic view of the world: Creating a new perspective and a new way to experience clouds or the ocean
Checking email using wall monitors: Hopefully they will have the in-flight Wi-Fi coverage issues sorted out by then!
Programmed scenery: Why limit things to just the current view? Airlines can program different types of scenery, allowing travellers to customize their experience
High-definition displays in multiple areas of the fuselage
A new way to watch movies
In-flight video conferencing: Business professionals and passengers can talk with family members to pass the time.
When will windowless planes take flight?
Don’t expect to board one of these planes anytime soon. The technology is not expected to come to market for about 10 years – and then you will have to be one of the lucky ones to book a flight that uses one of these new planes. Plus, depending on what develops over the next few years, there may be a fee associated with using some of the potential features mentioned above.
The main benefit of implementing this technology, in addition to greatly improving the overall flight experience, is that without windows, planes will be lighter, which would result in lower fuel and maintenance fees.
For customers, this means potentially lower flight fees, and some of the designers of the technology cite additional benefits of wider seats and a reduction of CO2 emissions, making planes more environmentally friendly.
However, one still has to question how these changes would affect someone with a fear of flying or fear of heights. Can you imagine being afraid to fly and then getting on a plane where you have a 360°-view of the sky?