Corvinus Executive MBA

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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (Part I)

2015. február 23. - Kevin Jackson

The first time I was on an airplane was in 1982 and the experience of flying has not changed much since then. While long haul flights now offer in-flight entertainment systems, security is certainly slower and I do not seem to get my bags any quicker. In the future, however, we can expect to see innovations that will significantly improve our travel experiences.

The travel site, Skyscanner, asked 56 experts and futurologists about current and emerging trends for the industry. One of their predictions is that airline passengers will be able to do 3D Skype conversations using holograms, and each seat will come equipped with “sonic disruptors” that will prevent others from hearing your conversation. Another prediction is that seats will have the ability to adapt to a person’s particular size and shape using memory-style foam and offer built in climate control. Finally, experts see the planes of the future being divided into zones with areas for hanging out or playing games, spaces designated for eating rather than using the annoying flop down tray, and others designed specifically for sleeping.  Sounds more like a train than a plane. I’m in. 

Now that we have established that our in-flight experiences will be getting a whole lot better, what about improvements at airports? Patrick Yeung, CEO of Dragonair, believes that “By 2025, automated self-service technologies, operated by a smartphone, will let a traveler drop off his bag at McDonald’s, or check-in as he buys a cup of coffee at Starbucks.” British Airways and Microsoft are already working together on a personalized, smartphone activated, digital bag tags that will eliminate the need for paper tags, tickets, and boarding cards altogether. The good news is that we might not have to wait until 2025, as the Incheon Airport in South Korea already offers a three minute self check-in with eight major airlines. The ultimate goal is to create a totally automated airport where the passengers take total control of their journeys, while a multilingual staff is available for those with special needs.

Many of us have read books and watched movies about what the future will be like and more often than not these predictions are far more accurate. In the next twenty years, however, I strongly believe that the airline industry will undergo fundamental changes likes the ones witnessed 100 years ago when the airline industry first began. These changes in travel, however, will not just be limited to just flying as I will explore in the next two parts of this series. Technology is disrupting entire industries and this is good news for all of us who like to travel or at least have to for work.

For more information on the future of travel, please refer to the following articles:

Future of flight: What air travel will look like in 10 years, RELAXNEWS, July 2nd, 2014(

Games areas, panoramic windows and seats that harvest body heat to power the cabin: Airbus reveals what flying will be like in 2050 (fingers crossed!), SARAH GORDON, June 9th, 2014


The Future of Travel Part 2: Travel Journeys, Skyscanner Report, (


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