Fifty years on, how different will travel really be? easyJet 2070: The future of travel report
easyJet 2070: The future of travel report outlines a set of predictions for what travel might look fifty years from now. Many of the ideas like space-based holidays to the moon and 3D-printed hotel breakfast buffets still feel a long way off. Others, despite sounding futuristic, described technologies that are already in their early stages of implementation.
The report was created by a panel of experts comprised of academics, futurologists, and business advisors. Together, they began to “develop ideas and make predictions about how travel might look in fifty years’ time, from choosing and booking your holiday to how the airport and flight experience may be transformed, and also looking at the accommodation people might stay in and the activities they could enjoy from travel in the 2070s.”
Here are some travel experiences listed in the report that we can already see in their infancy today.
‘Try before you buy’ holiday destinations
“Just as you try on clothes in a store today, or listen to music samples online before you decide to buy, customers will be able to explore and try out holiday destinations in the online metaverse before making a purchase” says Professor Birgitte Andersen, the CEO of Big Innovation Centre. Stakeholders in the aviation industry are already exploring the metaverse’s potential for the sector. From encouraging passengers to virtually tour the airport and cabin interiors to “visualis[ing] their real-world journey.” Although the metaverse is still in its early stages, there are many examples of companies actively engaging with the possibilities of virtual reality.
An entirely paperless, seamless journey
“By 2070, all ticketing and identity documentation will be digital.” Requiring solely your biometric data to get your through the airport, there will be no queues or ever barriers. According to BioFuturist Dr Melissa Sterry, “as you walk into the airport, facial recognition software will have noted your arrival, identified you, matched you with your booked flight and sent messages to your personal devices like a phone or smart watch to direct you onwards.” Biometric technology is not new to the industry and is already used by airports and airlines to streamline the passenger journey. Additionally, transatlantic Digital Travel Credential (DTC) pilots are running with a view to speeding up the passenger journey. Although the 2070 vision of entirely removing conventional touchpoints is a way off, the groundwork for this vision has already been laid with advancements in biometrics and identity technology.
Green transport to the airport and at your destination
“You might even travel to the airport via e-VTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing aircrafts) air taxis that whisk you from home to the airport.” And, once at your destination “you won’t need to worry about navigating local transport networks or car hire while on holiday […] there will be no need to have a driving licence: rental cars or e-VTOLs will be fully autonomous electric vehicles taking you wherever you want to go, dropping you at your destination without any worries over how to get there or where to park.” Airlines have been investing heavily in e-VTOLs with United Airlines and Archer Aviation already announcing the plans for their first commercial electric air taxi route. Once this is ready, it will offer passengers a “safe, sustainable, low noise, and cost-competitive alternative to ground transportation” to the airport, avoid traffic and reduce pollution.
“By 2070 passengers will have been travelling on zero emission aircraft for a number of years.” The aviation industry has been pushing to reduce its negative impact on the climate achieving key milestones in recent times. At the start of the year, ZeroAvia successfully tested the world’s largest plane to be powered by a hydrogen-electric engine, a considerable step towards zero-emission commercial flights. In the pursuit of mediating environmental damage, many partnerships have formed including easyJet and Rolls-Royce who achieved a world first for sustainable aviation, successfully running an aircraft engine on green hydrogen.
Some aspects of the journey sound like a distant future. For these, the report encourages readers to cast minds back to the year 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.” However, perhaps even more strikingly, we are already engaging with the technology that underpins some of the most futuristic experiences predicted by the report.
As the industry pushes to improve the passenger journey, we will see how continued engagement with these technologies translates into the passenger experience of the future.
Article by Jess Brownlow