Every year we see more improvements to the aviation industry, especially when it comes down to tech—from robots and AR/VR to Artificial Intelligence and in-flight personal entertainment systems. These advancements are helping people travel efficiently while keeping them entertained, especially when traveling extensive hours both on the ground and in the air. And with a new year approaching, we’ll be seeing even more travel trends rolling out in the aviation industry. With that said, let’s take a look at world explorers can expect in the coming year.
Free WiFi? Yes, please! More carriers are jumping on the free WiFi train for everyone onboard. JetBlue was the first airline to offer free WiFi from gate to gate, but they are not the only ones. Philippines Airlines, Air New Zealand, Emirates, Norwegian Air Shuttle (in Europe only), Qatar, Aer Lingus, China Eastern, Qantas, Hainan Airlines and Nok Air all offer free WiFi in all cabins. Delta Air Lines launched a successful test not too long ago and will soon be rolling out free WiFi onboard on over 50 flights next year.
Airbus revealed their latest jet, the A321XLR, designed for long-haul flights. Most aircraft that fly long-haul are double-aisle so the A321XLR is a bit of a game-changer thanks to its fuel-efficiency and nautical range. Travelers can expect more frequent flights and additional routes in a redesigned cabin (still in the works).
There’s a lot of change going on in the world between genders fighting to be heard. With a total of 11 states in the U.S. now offering legal non-binary gender identification, airlines are starting to follow-suit with United Airlines being the first to offer travelers an option to book a non-binary ticket. Other carriers including Southwest, Alaska and Delta Air Lines have said that they will also offer the same selection when booking, very soon.
Biometrics is spreading like wildfire with entire airports becoming completely biometric and Star Alliance introducing a complete biometric solution from start to finish. In the next two years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is working on installing facial recognition across the busiest airports (by international arrivals) in the country. As a result, you can expect a huge reduction in time spent at the border at over 20 airports, and hopefully, within the next five years, almost all airports will adapt to the “new” technology.
If you haven’t already noticed or even heard, airlines are making conscientious moves towards being environmentally-friendly than they have ever been before. Many airlines are removing plastics onboard and replacing them with ones that are biodegradable, reusable or recyclable. Just last month, San Francisco became the first airport in the world to eliminate plastics entirely. We hope to see more airports and airlines follow the same example in 2020 and beyond.