If you flew anywhere this year, then it was, errrrrm, an ‘interesting’ experience. From people getting kicked off overbooked flights, to major customer service woes that sparked an onslaught of backlash, the airline industry wasn’t exactly lit. But not to fear, 2018 brings us hope with technology advances and more innovative thinking from airlines. Here’s 5 ways flying could change in 2018 (for the better, we hope).
Robots, people. ROBOTS.
Yes, that’s right. More airlines are testing the idea of using ‘robots’ to help people check in and get what they need to go with ease. Already deployed in Amsterdam, California, and Japan, and soon to be South Korea, these robots can speak multiple languages too. Now how handy is that? I already feel a ‘back in my day’ speech coming on…
BUT, checking in might be a thing of the past.
A few airlines are switching to automatically checking people in, which we’ll be sure to see more of in 2018. Lufthansa, Swiss, Delta, and even Southwest are switching to this method of automatically checking in their customers. This puts those few people who still print their boarding pass literally decades behind the rest of us. You know who you are.
“Alexa, book me a flight.”
That’s right tiny little robot who’s probably reporting all my conversations to the government (at least there is proof that I’m a genius and figured out Westworld before the last three episodes), book me a flight! Travel websites like Expedia and Kayak are enabling voice purchasing for airline tickets. Be on the lookout for more companies to participate.
Waiting will become slightly more pleasant.
I say ‘slightly,’ because who wants to wait ever? Well, there’s good news. Airports are going to get better in 2018 about predicting your wait time. At both Atlanta and Heathrow, you can actually get an estimate of how long it will take you to walk from one place in the airport, to another. Never again have that anxious feeling while peeing 5 minutes before you’re supposed to board.
Planes will get better. And also worse.
The price and quality gap is going to continue to grow. For us, this means a double-edged sword. On one hand, we’ll have much more options when booking a trip. A few airlines like United and Delta are switching to provide pod-like options, for a more relaxing flying experience. While airlines like American, Emirates, and United (sending mixed messages guys), are adding in extra seats in their coach rows to accommodate ten people. Eeeek!
The future for air travel seems bright, but there are definitely a few things to cry about. While technology and innovation gets bigger and better, the actual in-flight experience will probably get worse. After all, someone has to pay for all that technology that made you feel like a million bucks before you stepped on the plane and saw your un-reclining middle row seat that you paid an extra $75 for. Annnnnd breathe…
So, where are off to in 2018? And do any of these changes surprise you? Should airlines be more focused on better prices and better planes, than ease of everything else leading up to the in-flight experience?