Airport check in and security will become increasingly sophisticated - and queue free.
If Europe’s biometric Entry-Exit System (due to come in at the end of 2023) sounds hi-tech, predictions for how travel will be in fifty years’ time are the stuff of science fiction films.
Low-cost airline easyJet asked a panel of experts - including academics, futurologists, and business advisors - to forecast how travel will look in 2070.
The findings, released in the flight company’s 2070: The Future Travel Report, make predictions about choosing and booking your holiday, the airport and flight experience and accommodation.
From ‘cardiac signature’ passports to 3D printed holiday wardrobes, here’s what we might be able to expect from travel of the future.
How will travellers book their holidays in the future?
Instead of flicking through a glossy brochure or scrolling through Instagram for inspiration, choosing a holiday destination in 2070 will be a Meta experience.
“Just as you try on clothes in a store today [...] customers will be able to explore and try out holiday destinations in the online metaverse before making a purchase,” says Professor Birgitte Andersen, the CEO of Big Innovation Centre.
You will be able to use virtual reality experiences to ‘try before you buy.’
“It will benefit those who have limited time or financial options and need to make a better, educated choice,” adds Andersen.
What will air travel be like in the future?
Experts predict that journeys of the future will be much smoother and faster, with rapid transport links to airports.
“85 per cent of travellers in many countries will arrive by electric-powered public transport, including autonomous (self-driving) vehicles,” says Dr Patrick Dixon, Chairman of Global Change Ltd.
You might even travel to the airport via e-VTOL - electric vertical takeoff and landing air taxis that whisk you from home to airport. “At least 250 companies are already developing these short-hop vehicles,” he explains.
Airport check-in and security will become increasingly sophisticated - and queue free. As you walk into the building, facial recognition software will identify you and match you with your booked flight.
Luggage-wise, it’s possible you won’t need any at all. “Instead of taking clothes on holiday, all you’ll need is your measurements,” says Professor Graham Braithwaite, Director of Transport Systems at Cranfield University.
When you reach your destination, there will be a recyclable clothing service that 3D prints your wardrobe.
What will aeroplanes be like in the future?
Comfort and personalisation will characterise aircraft of the future. “Biomimetic design – copying efficiencies found in nature – will revolutionise aircraft seating and comfort,” says consultant Dr Melissa Sterry.
“Innovation in materials science will see the creation of lighter yet stronger materials, for a tailored comfort experience at the same time as maintaining safety.”
What will passports be like in the future?
Facial recognition and biometric passports are already in use, but by 2070 experts forecast that all ticketing and identity documentation will be digital.
Travellers’ biometric data - like fingerprints and retina scans - will be stored on a global database.
This might also include your heartbeat, as everyone’s ‘cardiac signature’ is unique.
What will hotels be like in the future?
When it comes to hotels, experts are predicting driverless cars for airport pickups and a digital holographic personal concierge.
Hotel room decor will be customisable to suit your tastes. “Think of the hotel itself as one single AI-meets human organism that controls all aspects of your stay, customised to your preferences,” says trend forecaster Shivvy Jervis.
“A digital virtual room assistant (think Super-Alexa) will greet you and help you with anything from ordering a new towel to suggesting a place to eat and making a reservation for you.”