Flying is a major way for people to travel; planes can get you across long distances quickly and are perfect for those going on vacation, traveling for business, visiting family, or even moving. Whether it’s a long flight to another country, or just to the nearest major city, you can get a flight almost anywhere in the world.
As people continue to rely on plane travel, the industry has been working to keep up with technology and and lifestyle expectations. We see this both in terms of rules being changed for laptops and electronics usage while in the air; new services, such as the availability of onboard WiFi; and physically, for example the large screens and USB and electrical charging ports at every seat.
There are other changes being made to planes as well. Some that will make them more efficient, better for the environment, and more practical for everyone.
Planes Flying Via Hydrogen
Planes get a lot of negative attention due to the high number of emissions they release. Currently, planes use kerosene-based fuel. While this is more fossil-friendly than the gasoline used in cars, it still isn’t ideal. When you add up the number and frequency of planes flying, and the amount of fuel they require, planes are pretty bad for the environment.
Research has shown that just one flight can equal up to 14 percent of a car’s emissions for the year. With over 100,000 flights running daily, it is easy to see how this becomes a problem.
But it might not have to be this way for long. Some reports suggest that soon, planes will use hydrogen power. Hydrogen-powered planes have benefits for several reasons. The first is that hydrogen allows for bigger planes, which means that hundreds more people could be put on a plane at a time. This reduces the number of flights that have to go out each day.
Additionally, hydrogen is a lot cleaner than kerosene or gasoline. Even if the same amount of planes were going out on a given day, there would be fewer emissions than there are currently.
These planes are expected to be ready by 2035, specifically by a company called Airbus. By 2050, some estimates indicate that hydrogen-powered planes will be common, and make up a third of all planes. The long development period is in part due to complications from hydrogen’s low energy density, as well as the time needed to design and build the planes themselves.
Change in Design
Both the shape of plane wings and the interior of the cabins are being looked at right now as well. To make planes more efficient and allow more people to fly in them, there will always be a focus on new cabin designs.
Some examples of proposed cabin designs include stacking economy seats on top of each other; removing first class and replacing it completely with business class; creating minisuites for higher paying customers; using seats that don’t recline, and even creating more places to stand than sit.
Over the next few years, several designs and concepts will be unveiled, and no doubt the expense and customer opinions will likely steer the final decisions.
As for the shape of the wings, many companies are looking at military planes for more ergonomic and efficient design. Delta wings with a triangular shape are used in the military for higher-speed crafts. There is also a proposal to use V-shaped planes. This would allow for separate seating on each side of the V-shape, which may be up to 20% more fuel efficient than current planes.
Shorter Flights Available
For those that live in cities, you may find you don’t have to use a car all that often. Occasionally, however, you will find that you have to travel to another nearby city. When that happens, you will have to rely on friends or family, or you may be able to use a car service company to take you there.
Or, planes can sometimes be faster, and oftentimes a cheaper way to fly, even just to the next major city. All you need to do is use a service, like LAX airport transfers, to get you to the airport, and you can save money.
Right now, the aviation industry is developing small planes called “air taxis”. These would be small electric planes designed to go fast and for short distances.
The trial ones are small and able to hold five people at a time. They can travel up to an hour, but flights will likely be quicker, averaging only 18 minutes. Some of these planes have already been pre-purchased, and it is estimated that they will start to be used commonly around 2025.
Higher Costs and Fees
Of course, not all change is good. Thanks to rising fuel prices, prices will likely go up. However, that isn’t all. To accommodate more passengers and make the planes as profitable as possible, fees for bags and flight changes will likely start to increase even further. New planes may even try to cram more people in economy class to make more money with tighter seating, which will prompt more people to upgrade their seats hoping for a better comfort level.
There have already been changes made by plane companies to make more profit, such as changing the carry-on baggage sizes allowed, and cracking down on roller bags that are oversized. There will likely be more of these changes in the future, especially if fuel prices continue to increase.