Futuristic travel more down to earth, collaborative says study

Thoughts of futuristic travel often bring images of commercial low-earth orbit flights, man on Mars or rediscovering the Moon. A new study highlights real-world programs and technology being developed right now that is much more common, affecting us all.

By 2020, all airports will be paperless and bags will be electronically tagged, according to the From Chaos to Collaboration report released this week by Amadeus, a leading provider of IT solutions to the travel and tourism industry Just eight years from now, the report says, travelers will be using fingerprint boarding passes and eye-scanning passports.

“We wanted to avoid making techno-centric assumptions about the future of travel – and painting a picture of flying cars and intelligent robots in a world that is otherwise unchanged from today,” Andrew Curry, director and co-author The Futures Company told Travelmole.
New technological innovation should take the stress out of travel, leaving passengers with nothing to remember and the ability to track the location of luggage at any time. Using fingerprints to check in is hoped to reduce or eliminate the lengthy queues and delays in manual check-in.

In the not too distant future, travelers will cruise through customs and immigration with just a scan of their retina…or a chip implanted in their arm.

“If you talk to a technologist they will tell you it’s perfectly possible to have a chip in your arm, or use facial recognition technology and walk on to a plane or a vehicle without checking in,” Tim Jones, a technology consultant, said in the report. “But it seems as if the regulators or border- control staff are intent on adding extra layers of security, rather than removing them.”

Coming up too, passengers will be able to use virtual tour guides to visit sites of interest through the same principles as gaming on smart phones and computers.

It’s all about harnessing technology to make travel in the future simpler and more efficient, “shifting focus from satisfying the needs and wants of individual travelers to providing the environment for networks and flows of travelers as a group to move and flourish” says the report.

“We hope that this study will challenge, provoke and stimulate thinking around how we will all be traveling in the future” added Curry.

Flickr photo by timo_w2s

A new era for zeppelin travel?

Do you remember reading about the Hindenburg disaster in history class? You know, that giant blimp that burst into flames in New Jersey in 1936 1937, killing all most of the passengers onboard? For the fledgling blimp tourism industry of the 1930’s, that was pretty much the end of the line.

However, according to recent news, the blimp is experiencing a resurgence as a trendy new vehicle for the upscale tourism market. Jean-Marie Massaud, a French designer and architect, has announced plans for a new 690-foot long dirigible with attached luxury hotel (obviously) called the “Manned Cloud.” According to recent reports several airlines including Air France and Emirates have expressed interest in funding the project. Believe it or not, Jean-Marie Massaud isn’t the first to propose such an idea – a tour company based in Germany has been taking passengers on blimp aerial tours for several years. Just imagine the views as you gently float among the clouds, gazing down at the spectactular scenery below…

So is the once-mighty dirigible industry poised for a comeback? Don’t book that non-refundable blimp ticket on Kayak just yet. Though traveling by blimp will surely be of interest to some (moneyed) travelers, it’s likely to remain a largely niche transportation mode for several reasons. Aside from the fact blimps top out at ground speeds around 100 MPH, they’re also quite susceptible to bad weather. Can you imagine being in a blimp during a thunderstorm? I hate turbulence on airplanes as it is. Not to mention these floating aircraft can only take on small numbers of passengers and need very large landing strips to touch down.

Oh well, so much for reopening that blimp dock on New York’s Empire State Building. But keep watching the skies – a blimp trip could very well be in your future.