Futuristic Jetliner Concept Has Privacy Pods and Virtual Reality
Airline travel in 2050 could include virtual reality stations, acupressure treatments and transparent cabin walls, according the fantastical vision displayed in Airbus' Concept Cabin. Naturally, many of those amenities would remain reserved for first class travelers, but Airbus imagines a future where even coach passengers get some high-tech luxury.
The aircraft manufacturer envisions technology tailoring the flying experience to each individual passenger, and eliminating the usual seating differences between economy class and business class. Such chameleon-like flexibility could still help airlines offer the range of ticket pricing from basic to luxury services, yet also allow everyone to "continue life as if on the ground."
Pop-up pods could offer privacy for virtual business meetings, romantic meals or bedtime story reading if parents are traveling with sleepy kids. People looking for more traditional entertainment could throw back a drink or two with fellow passengers at the bar – a rare airline luxury that Airbus envisions becoming more common.
Virtual shopping experiences would allow passengers to try on clothing in a virtual fitting room. And a virtual gaming wall might offer anything from tennis to baseball or even golf, presumably using technology similar to motion-control interfaces found on the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.
A "vitalizing zone" might offer relaxation opportunities such as mood lighting, aromatherapy and acupressure treatments.
Passengers aboard Airbus' 2050 fantasy aircraft could also expect touch-sensitive panels and motion-controlled interfaces so that they could access information and services with a wave of their hands. Seats that molded themselves to bodies could help even overweight passengers fly more comfortably and with less hassle.
But as much as Airbus wants to paint a glitzy future for airplane passengers, it isn't in the business of operating them in the age of soaring fuel prices and uncertain economic conditions. In an age where getting a pillow or an extra snack requires seems beyond the pale, a plane like Airbus′ future concept might strike some as a little optimistic.
Of course, everyone must also make it through a future airport security that at least promises less invasive searches and shorter lines.