3 air travel trends set to take off

Alex Reszelska

If they say that time flies, it’s only set to accelerate even more so in the coming years with some exciting changes to air travel. Seamless biometric check-ins, free on-board WIFI, and all at a lower cost to the environment.

According to the International Air Transport Association, by 2035 there will be almost twice the number of passengers in the air – jumping from 3.8 billion in 2016 to an impressive 7.2 billion. Delta Air Lines & Virgin Australia, a TEDxSydney partner, expects that a growing demand for global connectivity will mean faster growth and innovation for the aviation industry.

So what are some of the air travel trends that we’ll see take off in the next 5 years? We spoke to our friends at Delta Airlines & Virgin Australia to find out.


Technology takes off

It is no secret that technology is already making air travel an exciting experience. More and more airlines now offer access to free WIFI during flights, meaning that we can work, play, and stay connected with our friends and families even at 30,000 feet in the air. But even greater change is coming: very soon nearly all security measures will operate through Artificial Intelligence. For check-ins and boarding we will use biometrics: facial recognition, retina and fingerprint scanning. This will allow for breezing through the airport with just the touch of a finger, saving us precious time, stress and hassle.


Sustainability is in the air

Airlines don’t want flying to be associated with a high carbon footprint. That’s why most of them adopt multifaceted strategies to reduce environmental impacts, helping their customers to travel a little greener (and with a guilt-free conscience). Delta Air Lines have pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 50% using various sustainability initiatives – fleet modernisation, cutting direct emissions, carbon offsets, reducing food waste, recycling materials and staff uniforms, as well as planting forests and supporting charitable organisations like Habitat for Humanity. Both Delta and Virgin Australia also banned the use of plastic straws during flights.

Virgin Australia are increasingly aware of their responsibility to preserve the health of our planet. As a result they enacted a number of sustainability initiatives to reduce their impact including upcycling crew uniforms and recycling food waste. The airline donates over eight tonnes of food to OzHarvest each month, providing over 16,000 meals to people in need.

The future of sustainable travel is impressive and, in the not-too-distant future, we may see some other eco-friendly changes, like switching to LED cabin lighting, which is gentler on the eyes and uses about half the power of fluorescent lighting.


Going above and beyond

Airlines of the future will probably serve as the global tour operators, inspiring the passengers to travel outside their comfort zones. Delta and Virgin Australia are both equally committed to going above and beyond to innovate and deliver the world’s most rewarding travel experience – with the importance of connections with staff and local communities at the foundations of what they do. Imagine visiting remote communities while helping to preserve wildlife habitats, saving sea turtles or planting trees in the rainforest? Future holidaying may well mean criss-crossing the globe in an effort to protect the planet’s wild places, but will also mean travel taken meaningfully.

So pack your bags and get ready to fly!

There are many exciting opportunities to change the way we live and ensure our world is still here in generations to come. Open your mind to the possibilities this year at TEDxSydney 2019.

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