Skyscanner predicts automated future for airports

Airlines of the future will become ‘cyber hubs’ where travellers can create havens to suit their business or leisure needs.

The prediction comes from flight search company Skyscanner which suggests the future will see an entirely automated airport journey where passengers will take complete control, eliminating check-in desks and queues.

Journeys in ten year’s time will see passengers being able check in and drop off their bags at Starbucks as they buy coffee and use their smartphones to monitor the queue times at security as they choose the best route to get to their gates.

Pre-set digital luggage tags and suitcases will include all flight details and destination information allowing travellers to track their bags throughout their journey.

These future systems along with biometric data cards, which will replace passports, mean that travellers will experience a much more efficient, pleasant and faster airport journey.

A desire for more expansive, open buildings will form the design of new and inspiring ‘Aerovilles’ that will become the mainstream airport by 2024.

These wellness hubs will be accompanied with interactive walls and floors, transforming shopping and eating experiences. New haptic technology will allow passengers to smell, feel and see the products they want to buy from the comfort of the rooftop pool.

‘Phygital’ technology – physical and digital retail techniques – means travellers will also be able order goods with a wave of a hand or by a simple verbal command.

Skype-style hologram systems will be available on board flights, allowing passengers to hold 3D conversations with friends and family.

Sonic disrupters will be embedded in passenger seats to prevent other travellers from hearing conversations and ‘haptic gloves’ will allow them to shake hands with a business colleague overseas, feeling the pressure of touch as it happens.

Morphing seats will offer travellers different levels of comfort based on individual preferences and will become a combination of a mobile living room and virtual office, pre-loaded with personalised multimedia films, music and data.

Skyscanner head of B2B Filip Filipov said: “Emerging technologies mean that by 2024 the travel journey from our home to holiday destination has the potential to be a stress-free and enjoyable experience – full of fun distractions for everyone.

“Airports and flights will no longer be the price we pay to travel but instead will signify the start of our holidays where travellers can relax and create the perfect space to suit their needs whether they’re flying for business or leisure.”

He was launching the second of a three part future-gazing report produced in association with The Future Laboratory and 56 trend experts and futurologists in the travel and technology industries.

The final part of the report to be published in the autumn will focus on the destinations people will visit and what holidays could ultimately look like.

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