New report points to the future of flying

British Airways has released details of BA 2119: Flight of the Future Report, offering a picture of what flying will look like in 20, 40, 60 and 100 years into the future.

Commissioned by the airline to mark its centenary year, in collaboration with data-led trends agency Foresight Factory, the report found that consumers want far greater personalisation from their flying experience. Overall 46% of people want a dedicated communal space for socialising, however this was far more popular with those in emerging markets (Brazil 47%), India 69%, China 55% and South Africa 47%) than with passengers in the UK (30%), Germany (22%) and Japan (20%) who preferred a more private experience.

In the future, greater personalisation could be delivered through aircraft seats that use biological scanners to gather travellers’ physiological and nutritional needs. This data will suggest food and drink to meet individual requirements, which can be 3D-printed on board the aircraft

Acclimatisation to the destination, be that combating jet lag or pre-travel care will be a thing of the past, with 3D printers also used to print personalised health supplements.

AI-powered personalisation will enable passengers to bring cloud-based work and entertainment profiles to their seats, while holographic flight attendants will field basic questions and requests, freeing up cabin crew to offer more value-added interactions.

Overwhelmingly, consumers say that the future will see the end of airline “classes”, and the rise of bespoke packages where consumers pay for a customisable experience, based on options for space and entertainment.

Although the emergence of next generation supersonic jets will dramatically cut travel time – with the average flight from New York to London falling from seven hours to three – the report predicts that within 50 years we will see a trend for slow, experiential flights as consumers seek a leisurely start to their holidays.

These flights could take the form of “Air cruises”, which will see travellers fly slowly over areas of special interest, such as the Pyramids, while interactive VR guides give passengers an immersive running commentary. Other options available to passengers travelling on an air cruises include on-board yoga, meditation or art classes.

British Airways’ chairman and chief executive Alex Cruz said: “The findings of the BA 2119: Flight of the Future Report not only offer us unprecedented insight into how consumers across the world feel about flying now, but what they will expect from us, as airlines, in the future. In the last ten years alone, the airline industry and flight experience has changed in so many significant ways, including improved fuel efficiency, noise reduction, in cabin design and luxury. It is therefore not hard to see how, at this rate of progress, these seemingly unreal predictions will come true.

“This is a really exciting way to mark our centenary, which has seen us remember the past, celebrate the present and predict the future in collaboration with fantastic partners from across industry and academia.”

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