The 8 Scariest Things Probably Coming to Air Travel

By Paul Michael on 17 September 2014 0 comments

Hands up if you remember getting free meals on your flights.

It wasn't too long ago that we got free checked bags, and did not have to pay for headphones or blankets, either. As time goes on, the airline industry is making changes that keep themselves in profit, and us wishing we had the money to fly first class. Or better yet, have our own plane. And things are only going to get worse. (See also: Tricks to Make Flying in Coach (Almost) as Luxurious as Flying First Class)

Here are eight "innovations" that may be coming to an airline that you fly regularly. Don't be surprised if you see these changes sooner rather than later. What was once something comedians joked about is going to become the reality for almost all of us.

1. Vertical Passenger Seating

That's a fancy ways of saying "standing seats." If that sounds like an oxymoron, it is. But, the one thing this invention has going for it is money. Fairuz Romili, an aerospace engineering professor at the Universal Putra Malaysia, says the standing seat would "lead to a 21% increase in passenger capacity, while dropping ticket prices by as much as 44%." Think about that for a second. Yes, it sounds (and looks) very uncomfortable. Yes, it will also lead to a huge amount of people in economy class, meaning it will take even longer to get drinks and snacks. But, if it dropped the price of a ticket from $300 to $156, would you take it?

2. Limited Lavatories (Or Toilet Fees!)

Can you hold it? You might just have to.

Cheaper airlines, also known as budget airlines, are looking into a few bathroom ideas that can chop the price of your ticket. One idea is to have just one toilet per plane. On a smaller aircraft, not such a big deal. On a 747 or 777, you better learn to cross your legs and think of something else. The other option is to charge you to go; literally, spending a dollar to spend a penny. Either one of these would be pushed on you with some great marketing spin. "We're reducing frills to bring you the best possible price on your flight." Great… until you have to wait 45 minutes to answer the call of nature.

3. The Fat Tax

Some airlines are already "suggesting" or insisting that obese people buy two seats instead of just one. Sometimes, in the case of Les Price, they don't even give you two adjacent seats, which makes no sense at all. However, soon it won't be just purchasing extra seats. You may very well have to "weigh in at check in," and if you tip the skills over a certain weight, the price of your ticket will go up. For example, males over 250 pounds and females over 200 pounds will pay extra to fly on the plane, even if they fit into a single seat just fine. This could also impact healthy people, like bodybuilders and professional athletes, who are heavy without being obese in the real sense of the word. Imagine being told your ticket will cost one third more because you're a bit on the heavy side. It's coming.

4. Women Only in the Cabin Crew

Not that having only women in the crew is bad for passengers, but it certainly isn't good for any men looking for a career in that field. How will that save money, or be beneficial? Well, we already know that women earn less than men in the same role. But according to GoAir, hiring only women makes sense because they are, on average, "15-20 kilos lighter than the average man." Is that sexism, or simply a statement of fact from GoAir? Well, however you feel about it, you can expect to see either less men in the air, or only people weighing less than a certain amount.

5. In-Flight Phone Calls Are Coming

Currently, the U.S. government says no to mid-flight cell phone conversations. However, lobbyists will change that sooner or later, and when it happens you can expect your flight to be filled with inconsiderate people who absolutely cannot wait to make that call. This is, without a doubt, going to be the most irritating and awful thing to change the way we fly. Pack noise-cancelling headphones and earplugs. Lots of earplugs.

6. You're Doing Everything Yourself

We all like autonomy, but when we're flying there are still some things we like to have a trained professional for. Sometimes, they can really help when it comes to getting us on different flights, changing times, adding to our itinerary, and so on. The future is going to be completely automated. Right now, you can get onto a plane without really seeing anyone if you're doing a short hop without checked bags. That is going to change. You will be tagging your own bags and loading them onto the conveyor belt. You'll use a thumbprint to identify yourself and get on and off the plane. You'll even have to get your own food and drinks on the plane. Why pay people when you can do it for the airlines for free?

7. More Overbooked Flights

In the past, you would often fly with enough empty seats on the plane to lie down and take a nap. That will never happen in the future. To ensure "maximum profit margins," every flight will be seriously overbooked. This will result in more delays at airports, and incredible complications with connecting flights and hotel reservations. You could always go and complain to someone, but of course, you'll be greeted by a computer terminal with no feelings about the matter either way.

8. Massive Aircraft

We already know about the ginormous Airbus A380. That's only just the beginning. Plans are already underway to build something bigger. One such idea is the Sky Whale, which would hold 755 passengers split into three different classes (and only those in first would enjoy the experience). Getting onto a plane that big will take a long, long time. Getting anything to eat or drink will take equally as long. And getting off, well, don't make any immediate plans when you arrive at the airport. Of course, if one of these things ever crashes, it's going to be a devastating tragedy. And one day, Sky Dinosaurs could carry 1500 people at once. The cost of fuel by then will be so expensive, it will probably not cut the price of the ticket by much.

What nightmarish future airline plans are you dreading?

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