Although there are many benefits that came with the invention of air travel, there has also been a number of discomforts that have never been quite resolved. I’m comfortably seated in my aisle seat on my flight from LAX to JFK. I am trying to maintain a positive attitude as I keep getting closer to becoming a 2 million miler (miles flown) with Delta Airlines. I have no idea how many miles I’ve flown with the other airlines.
The more I fly, the more things stay the same. New aircraft are cleaner, quieter, and brighter, but it still takes too long to get to the airport, too long to get through security, and too long to fly cross-country.
Since Delta Airlines has installed complimentary in-flight entertainment in most of it’s aircraft, and passengers have started bringing personal devices on-board, a new flyer conflict was created; window shade up for sunlight, or down for watching the screen.
Here is my passenger conflict rant:
1. Jostling for overhead space
2. Lining up at the toilets
3. Lining up in the aisles the moment the plane touches down
4. Elbows over the shared armrest
5. Reclined or not reclined
6. Bringing smelly foods onboard
7. Conversation or napping
8. Shades up or down
My advice, wear a hoodie, earplugs or headphones, eyeshades, and bring lots of patience.
I still love to travel, but come on, it’s been 50 years since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. The only real improvement in air travel within my lifetime, besides the lie-flat seat (which still remains my favorite), is the super fast, supersonic Concorde. The Concorde could fly from JFK to London in just over 3 hours, crossing the pond from 1976 to 2003. In 2019 the same flight takes over 7 hours.
Fear not, fellow travelers, there are plans for a new and improved supersonic jet. Sir Richard Branson announced plans to move forward with a Concorde II, and he is also planning flights to the moon with his Virgin Galactic vessel. Elon Musk with Space X, and Jeff Bezos with Blue Origin, have similar lunar tourism intentions on the horizon.
Change is happening, as new flying aircrafts are in development. Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center in Paris, has prototypes of flying taxis that it hopes to have ready by 2023.
If fact there are a number of companies that are building small hovering craft, to use as urban air taxis to ferry passengers from downtown in major cities to the local airport.
These new (UAM), urban air mobility vehicles, will be a sort of futuristic helicopter; only more stable, utilizing electric motors, and possibly be flown without pilots.
Larry Page of Google has partnered with Boeing to develop a UAM with a range of 100 km to ferry passengers for Air New Zealand.
Geely, the Chinese company that owns Volvo has invested with a German firm that has built the 18-rotor Volocopter, which has flown dozens of times, including a pilotless flight in Dubai.
It looks like the technology is ready, the challenge is the municipal regulations governing the UAM. Are cities, other than Dubai and Auckland, ready to allow these flying drone-like vehicles to fly passengers over the urban landscape. Singapore seems ready, and is building landing ports for the Volocopter complete with passenger facilities, and charging stations for the batteries of the UAM.
The original Concorde was a technological marvel in 1976, traveling twice the speed of sound. It was just too noisy, as it flew at supersonic speeds, it’s sonic boom was too much for populated areas and regulations killed it, because it was only allowed to fly over the ocean.
Hopefully, this time around, regulations and technologies will reach an accord, that will result in less travail and improved travel.
About the Author: Jake Tewel holds a Masters Degree from YU, a wine seller, caterer and a million miler for the past 15 years. Jake is a best friend, great neighbor, your go to travel person, father, grandfather and loving husband. He is now focusing his efforts on heart healthy nutrition, exercise and travel.