Flights of Fancy
The future of air travel may not be a super fast plane that gets travelers to their destination (which happens to be on the other side of the globe) in mere hours. It might also not be an air compressed Hyperloop track—at least, not for quite some time. To that end, it makes sense to start taking some smaller baby steps when it comes to improving how we travel.
Following Airbus’ vision, the future of travel could be a far more convenient and comfortable all-around travel experience, beginning with the boarding process.
The proposal sees the use of detachable cabins that can be lifted (similar to how shipping containers work) and placed onto the back of a plane when it’s ready to takeoff. This would allow passengers to board, stow their luggage, and make all necessary adjustments while the plane itself is still being services. This would essentially speed up the entire travel process by allowing ticket-holders to take their seats as the plane readies itself for takeoff and it would also make flying a whole lot cheaper.
"The period of immobilization on the ground of the aeroplanes between two successive flights increases their operational cost. Indeed, the longer this period of immobilization, the less actual flight time of each aeroplane," Airbus stated in its filing.
Aircraft Pod Concept
The more time planes spend on the ground between two successive flights, the more operational costs the airline incurs; not to mention the impression of inefficiency it has among travelers who have to spend time queuing and waiting.
The proposal not only offers a more efficient way to manage a plane’s immobilization, it also lends itself to improved customer service by allowing passengers to be pre-seated in the cabin pods even prior to the arrival of the plane. By the time the plane arrives, the passengers can readily be integrated into the aircraft, which saves time and money.
The Aircraft Pod Concept also means planes can be easily modified, allowing for changes that could accommodate varying degrees of comfort for passengers.
Of course, it also means that airports will have to be modified to fit docking stations as well as new equipment.