Last year, Airbus showed off their 2050 concept plane that would be efficient and environmentally friendly. Just in time for the Paris Airshow, Airbus has rolled out their vision for what the inside of that plane will be. In a mere four decades, air travelers can enjoy morphing seats, automated luggage handling, high-tech holographic amenities at your fingertips, acupressure seats, and oh, yeah, a see-through airplane skin.
If the idea of hurtling through the sky in a transparent airplane doesn’t unsettle you, read on.
Despite all the fancy stuff, the focus of Airbus’ cabin concept is personal comfort. First off, the plane does away with the idea of assigned seats and class-systems. The rear of the plane provides a comfortable work environment where travelers can maintain access to data networks in-flight. The mid-section is a holodeck multi-purpose space that can function as a bar, a conference room, or virtual golf course. But the forward section of the passenger compartment is the most dramatic. From the press release:
The “vitalising zone” is all about wellbeing and relaxation allowing you to proactively recharge your batteries with vitamin and antioxidant enriched air, mood lighting, aromatherapy and acupressure treatments whilst taking in the infinite view of the world around you.
Sounds a little like enriched environments provided by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation to me, but it sure looks cool.
The most fantastical aspect of the plane is the skin, which Airbus says will be made from plant-based eco-friendly materials and be variably transparent. The release and video also suggest that the skin would be “smart,” allowing for travelers to dim or blur certain sections of it to keep the sun off them. While certainly a breathtaking view while cruising, one wonders if the captain might turn off the transparency during storms, or the jarring turns that airplanes often make.
Of course, it’s a concept and not meant to be practical. Taken on their own and with a little less reflective plastic, structures that mimic nature, reducing environmental impact, and a focus on a seamless travel experience all sounds pretty good to me. Like the concept security check-in from last week, it shows that airlines are at least aware of the miserable state of air travel. These shiny promises won’t make the horrifying experience that is coach-class travel any easier, but it at least seems hopeful.
Except for the whole on-board virtual golf thing. That’s just stupid.