Flying into the future: how tech is changing customer experience

Flights have never been more diverse and accessible as they are today. With more airports around the world and a greater variety of airlines and budget flights, it is strange to come across someone who has never flown. Yet if you look at images and footage of commercial flights half a century ago, the customer experience does not look a whole lot different to that of cheap flights today. Some may even say that with comfier seats and more legroom, the flights of yesteryear look preferable to the current cramped conditions! But as UX-driven technology develops and becomes cheaper to implement on flights, there are a number of innovative tech improvements that travellers will benefit from.

In-flight Internet of Things

Smart seats have already been tested with certain airlines, improving the traveller’s experience by analysing stimuli such as temperature, cabin pressure and passenger movement. Sensors can communicate to cabin crew if a passenger is restless, hinting that they may need extra attention.

Stronger internet bandwidth

WiFi is already common in aeroplanes, especially on long-haul flights, but connection is often weak, leaving passengers frustrated if they try to do anything meaningful on the internet. This is something that airline companies are moving to address, boosting bandwidth so that more people can connect without disruption. Satellite broadband WiFi is already available on premium airlines, but this will start to filter down in the near future as customer demand increases and the price of the technology drops. Certain web services such as Netflix are getting involved with airlines to develop internet access to use their platforms.

Augmented reality windows

Looking out of the window in an aeroplane is always interesting, and now technology is being developed to help you make perfect sense of what you’re seeing. Features of augmented reality windows will include simulated 3D displays of the ground below, the option of zooming in on certain landmarks, and being able to freeze-frame the image on the window to take a longer look.

With the development of technology hurtling along at break-neck speed on the Earth’s surface, it’s sometimes a wonder why the same can’t be replicated in the sky. But with travel tech evolving all the time, it will only be a matter of years before we have a fully immersive, interactive experience when we fly.

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