In 2024, airports will be uplifting places that offer yoga and swimming pools. Long security lines will be a thing of the past. And airplanes will be relaxing cyber hubs where you can hug your kids back home and enjoy a climate-controlled seat that molds to your body.
This is according to the travel search site Skyscanner.com, which is again taking us to the future of travel in its second installment from a three-part report called “The Future of Travel 2024,” which was released today. In its first installment, released in April, we learned how we will plan, book, and experience travel in the future — digital travel buddies will assist us, we’ll take virtual tours of destinations, and semantic websites will allow us to book travel using our voice and body language rather than our fingertips. Today’s report focuses on what our airport and airplane experience will be in 2024.
Remote bag drop-offs and mobile check-ins will replace check-in desks at airports in the future. Digital bag tags will store your boarding pass and destination information. It’s all part of what is being called the “Internet of Things.”
“We are witnessing the birth of something that has been dubbed the Internet of Things,” said Martin Raymond, The Future Laboratory co-founder, in the report. “Where more and more products over the coming decade – 50 billion devices, according to Cisco – will be connected to the internet and to each other. By this I mean products such as clothes, accessories, refrigerators, even toothbrushes and suitcases.”
Fifty-eight percent of travelers say a major stress of traveling is waiting in lines at the airport, according to a Skyscanner.com survey. Long security lines will be a thing of the past with the use of biometric scanning, facial recognition software, and laser molecular scanners. Biometric data cards will replace passports, identifying travelers quickly as they pass through security. Facial recognition software will flag potential threats to security. And laser molecular scanners will check in both passengers and bags in a fraction of a second. According to the report, these scanners are 10 million times faster than the scanners in place now and can operate from a distance of more than 160 feet to scan many travelers at once.
Do you find your airport an uplifting, beautiful, and inspiring place to be? You will in the future, say the experts. Airports will look to offer travelers “magic moments” through art, as well as a tranquil getaway in the form of open space. This is already happening in places like Singapore, where its Changi Airport houses the world’s largest moving sculpture. That airport also boasts a five-story vertical garden, waterfalls, cinemas, and a rooftop swimming pool. It won’t be strange at all to take a yoga class in a virtual pavilion and swim in an infinity pool surrounded by your favorite island while waiting for your flight, according to the report.
Phygital, a mixture of physical and digital retail techniques, will transform your airport shopping experience. Buy virtually displayed items simply by pointing your smartphone at them. Haptic technology will allow you to feel them. You’ll even be able to smell, say, the leather of those new shoes.
Once you board your plane, you’ll find the cabin divided into different zones for those who want to relax, mingle, and dine. Smart lighting will reduce jet lag. You’ll settle into a climate-controlled seat that molds to your body and offers your own holographic communications and entertainment hub. Have 3D conversations with your friends and play your favorite movies and music. Haptic gloves will allow you to hug your kids back home on the ground. Sounds far-fetched? It’s not, says Martin Raymond from The Future Laboratory.
“Technology like this is already with us. And at events such as the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 in Las Vegas, you are seeing second- and third-generation versions of these devices — hugely expensive now, but expected to fall in price at they hit the mass market,” Raymond said in the report.
In short, your airport and airline travel experience in 10 years will be a lot more relaxing and convenient than it is today. What do you think of this travel vision?Kristi Palma can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter @kristipalma.