Staying in underwater hotels, having your own personal holographic concierge, and even using your heartbeat instead of a passport – travel is predicted to look extremely different in 2070.
European budget airline easyJet has commissioned a panel of experts to make predictions on what travel will look like in 50 years’ time – and their findings are mind-blowing.
Take airports for example, paperwork will be a thing of the past where instead an individual’s biometric data will be stored in the cloud and available globally – replacing physical passports.
But it won’t just be the type of biometric technology we are familiar with today – fingerprints or face/retina scans – but your heartbeat, as everyone’s “cardiac signature” is unique, the experts say.
There will be no check in or security – something Emirates president Sir Tim Clark previously told news.com.au would happen much sooner than in 50 years’ time.
Facial recognition software is instead expected to be able to identify you, match you with your booked flight and send messages to your phone as you walk through the airport without stopping.
“Going ‘through security’ or ‘passport control’ will be meaningless terms,” said Dr Patrick Dixon, the chairman of Global Change Ltd and an expert on the 2070: The future travel report.
“You will not be aware of any sort of checks, but you too will be scanned and tracked as you move through the airport.”
In 50 years time your passport may be replaced with your heartbeat.2070: The future travel report
Your baggage, with an embedded smart data tag, would be automatically unloaded from a train or taxi and sent directly to the right aircraft.
And that taxi is not the one we know today. People are expected to travel to the airport – and around their holiday destinations – in e-VTOLs, which refers to electric vertical takeoff and landing air taxis.
“At least 250 companies are already developing these short-hop vehicles,” Dr Dixon said.
If you’re one of those people who hate packing or even more so, unpacking, Professor Graham Braithwaite says eventually the need to pack clothes could disappear completely with 3D printers.
“Simply provide your destination with your measurements via a body scan before you fly and, upon arrival, find a wardrobe filled with outfits in your exact size,” he said.
“When you leave, clothes can be recycled and reprinted for the next tourist. Not only will this reduce the stress of packing, holiday fashion becomes more sustainable.”
‘Sit back, relax and enjoy your flight’
Overall planes are expected to get more advanced and more comfortable.
Ergonomic plane seats could adapt to our comfort with in-flight entertainment beamed directly in front of our eyes.2070: The future travel report
Specifically, the experts predict the seats will no long be “one size fits all” and you’ll actually be able to book a seat suited to your body type.
They might even be able to cool or warm you to your preferred temperature and be more hygienic.
“Currently, seats are standardized partly for safety reasons, but 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,” futurist Dr Melissa Sterry said.
It is likely there will also be no more screens on the back of your seats. A more futuristic kind of device could beam movies straight before your eyes.
What about the common experience of eagerly waiting for the flight attendant to tell you the two or three meal options you can choose from only to be disappointed? This will also be a thing of the past.
The experts predict you will be able to choose whatever you want to eat.
‘Expect hotels like never before’
Imagine a digital holographic personal concierge waiting to greet you in your hotel lobby to tend to your every need. In 50 years it could be a reality.
You could also be choosing your room’s decor to suit your taste, change the lighting, the music, the scent and the softness of your bed.
“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,” futurist Shivvy Jervis said.
The buffet breakfasts of the future involve a digital menu where you can type in what you want to have 3D printed.
3D printed hotel buffet food could revolutionize breakfast and do away with waste.2070: The future travel report
By 2070, you could find yourself staying in an underwater hotel and going on a “sea-fari” in a mini submarine, or you may stay underground with subterranean hotels expected to be built into the fabric of the earth.
And if you are not sure what holiday to go on or what to get up to one day, artificial intelligence is expected to be able to match you with the right destination, activity and even traveling companion.
For those who like to visit historical sites augmented reality will change the game.
“Forms of MR – mixed reality – will overlay images on the landscape to visually reconstruct what happened there: a famous battle, the troops surging around you, being sat among the cheering crowd at the very first Olympic Games,” Dr Sterry said.
It might be in the form of a projected hologram or by wearing a lightweight headset or glasses. Haptic suits could intensify the experience even further.
Time-traveling holiday experiences with haptic suits could allow us to witness ancient wonders such as Colossus of Rhodes.2070: The future travel report
‘Look back 50 years’
While the predictions might seem far-fetched now, lead expert Professor Birgitte Andersen said you only have to look back 50 years to realize it’s all possible.
“Humanity has grown so accustomed to frequent beneficial advances in tech and engineering, that it can become easy to take for granted how far we’ve come in the last 50 years,” she wrote in the report’s summary.
“Think back to 1973 – smartphones were a thing of wildest dreams, ‘Google’ would have seemed like a made-up word, and laptops were still almost a decade away from being invented.
“It’s unfathomable to us now to have lived in a world without these core technologies that are so fundamental to our being. So, when looking forward to the next 50 years, the potential possibilities for growth and development in innovation and technology for travel are endless.”