Electric Airplanes: The Future of Aviation

 

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“Ladies and gentlemen, please remain in your seats, we appreciate your patience as we refuel the plane,” might become a phrase of the past. Being replaced with “as we charge the batteries,” is seeming more likely each day. Two startups are beginning to dip their toes in electric airplanes, and they are confident, thanks to the support of some major airlines, that their vision will shortly become a reality.

 

Less than a month ago, young company, Zunam Aero announced their projections for a fleet of electric planes to be born in the next decade. However, international travelers shouldn’t get their hopes too high, as the company is only looking into getting their roots in domestic travel, specifically within a 700 mile, or less, travel distance. Their planes will likely seat only 10-50 people and have a key objective of reducing traffic in highly-populated areas. Zunum Aero’s efforts are currently being backed by Boeing and JetBlue, and their parent role includes hooking investors early enough to stay ahead of any technology curves to come along during the process.

 

In addition to creating a faster travel experience, the electric planes are guaranteed to better the environment as a whole. According to MIT Technology Review, the aviation industry is responsible for the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as the entire country of Germany. By even cutting down impacts of fuel for one region of the world, better air quality conditions become more likely. Additionally, planes running on electricity create much less noise than those running on fuel, providing the ears of residents living near airports some relief.

 

As there are with any new concepts or inventions, the companies looking to delve into electric airplanes will face some obstacles. Having a plane that operates solely on batteries will rely heavily on the proper weight and distribution of every aspect of the model. As many of you know the battery in our cars or smartphones get easily overheated when using a great amount of energy. This being said, maintaining a relatively cool battery temperature is crucial in the process of bringing the electric airplanes to life.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, aviation has drastically changed in many ways throughout its century-long lifespan. With the serious reality of electric airplanes making waves, we can only expect to see these developments continue as the years go by. With the benefits that will come from battery powered flights, I truly hope this industry becomes successful in its initial growth period.

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Living Rooms on an Airplane?

 

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Fold down service, a gym, a spa, and a living area. You probably think I am describing hotel accommodations, right? Wrong. Those features are likely going to be seen in the near future aboard international flights. Of course, all of these luxuries are going to come at a steep price, and those willing and able to pay up can kiss away the days of difficult flying experiences.

 

For those in the airplane design industry, most upgrades and changes are made in the first or business class cabins, providing the high-rollers a more accommodating flight. The Daily Mail reported that quite a few firms have begun the innovation process for making airplanes feel more like hotels, especially for the 1%. One of the designs includes six, suite-style accommodations with an armchair or couch that changes into a double bed, a 42 inch TV, and even a “smart in-flight service system”, which helps to predict wants and needs of the passenger. Though some companies, such as Singapore Airlines have already launched the suite concept, the design and enhancements being made by these design firms are beyond any current flying experience.

 

An additional concept being considered is the idea of creating more amenities for fliers to enjoy during their air time. By creating a split-level design, the cabin will provide areas for lounging, dining, and entertainment enjoyment on one floor and private relaxation or sleep rooms on the other. New Territory, a design firm that developed the business class section of an Aero Mexico aircraft which includes a self-service bar and snack grabbing area, has truly become an innovator for new air travel scenarios.

 

New Territory has recently launched a completely different design concept called the “Aerobus Transpose.” The basic idea behind the unique model is the ability for a flight to never have to make drastic changes to its interior design. With removable “pods” compiling the internal structure of the planes, the number of suites or coach seats can be adapted almost instantaneously to personalize each flight.

 

As everything in our ever-changing world begins to adapt to new and improved technologies, the way we travel can never become an exception. Although most of these luxury flight experiences come with a hefty price tag, I would hate for anyone eligible to pass up the opportunity to explore the skies in such a lavish way. I am extremely enthusiastic to see the direction in which air travel adapts as our society continues to evolve!

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Then Versus Now: How Aviation Has Changed

Air travel today is vastly different from what it was 50 to 60 years ago. During the “Golden Age” of aviation, the experience of flying was something of an event. According to multiple reports, travelers would often dress up and prepare for the experience to fly the friendly skies. If you’ve ever been on an airplane in the last few years or so, you would know that this is not the case today; in fact, flights on economy class are often dreaded. So what happened? Why are we no longer living in the Golden Age of aviation anymore?

 

Well, technically speaking, we are. Traveling by airplane is far safer, faster and more luxurious than it ever was. However, you have to be quite wealthy to enjoy the latter. The Golden Age was only considered to have existed back then because airplane trips were so extravagant; but that was only because ticket prices were so exorbitantly high. As the price of airfare declined, so did the number of features and amenities.

 

Travel back in time with me as I compare aviation’s Golden Age to today.

 

Safety:

Living in a post-9/11 world, we are all accustomed to intense airplane security. However, far before the tragic attacks, there essentially was no such thing. According to a report from Huffington Post, passengers could arrive at their gates with only 30 minutes to spare, and did not have to present ID. There was obviously no TSA, so security measures were incredibly lax. Also, the airplanes were designed quite differently back then making air travel incredibly uncomfortable and loud.

 

Food:

Today, you’re lucky to be served food on a flight at all; that is, if you fly economy. By flying first class on some of today’s extravagant airlines, like Emirates Airlines, you get a bevy of scrumptious food choices like caviar or alcoholic beverages like wine. However, back in the Golden Age, you were guaranteed an eclectic array of food options, such as lobster or roast beef.

 

Smoking:

This may come as no surprise, but smoking was incredibly popular during the 50s. Almost half of the American population was smoking cigarettes, and as far as airplanes were concerned, it was fair game. Simply search online for videos of smoking on airplanes and you’re immediately greeted with dozens of file footage videos of passengers puffing away. For anyone who has flown within the last 17 years, you know that that is no longer the case today. In 2000, a law was put into place banning all smoking on all flights to and from America.

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3 of the Worst Airports in the US

Last month I had written a piece on three of the most amazing airports in the US. Featuring trendy shops, sleek designs and even a full-fledged aquarium, the three airports were truly amazing in terms of service and features. However, obviously not all airports can be amazing. Unfortunately, sometimes they can not even be satisfactory. With that being said, I figured I would be fair and list a few of the worst airports in America.

 

LaGuardia Airport

Located in Queens, New York, LaGuardia is one of the three major airports located in The Big Apple—JFK International and Newark Liberty International being the other two. And although the airport has seen a large influx of customers, its rankings have dropped quite a bit, with LaGuardia consistently being ranked as one of the worst airports in the country. What usually contributes to that low score is LaGuardia’s aging facilities and reports of squatters and unsanitary conditions. According to various reports, LaGuardia is becoming something of a city-shelter for the homeless. Many of the airport’s employees claim to have even seen several homeless people using the bathrooms as personal showers. Things only got worse for the aging airport in 2014 after then Vice President of the United States Joe Biden compared its conditions to that of a third world country. However, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has recently announced a $4 billion renovation—which should completely redesign the airport—planned for completion in the next few years. Until then, however, if you are ever in the New York area and need a flight, it may be best to skip LaGuardia for now.

 

Chicago O’Hare International Airport

One of the country’s most traffic-heavy airports is also one of the worst. O’Hare does not necessarily have any blatant issues with its technology or infrastructure—although with technology’s rapid evolvement, the most state of the art airport can quickly become outdated—instead, its problems lie mainly in customer service and travel delays. According to multiple user reviews, O’Hare International is bogged down by its rude employees and attendants, poorly designed waiting areas and slow service. One reviewer even claims that baggage claim took well over an hour. O’Hare has also become synonymous with flight delays, which adds to its unfavorable scores.

 

Los Angeles International

Another popular airport on the list, Los Angeles International, commonly referred to as LAX, is the cause of millions of travelers’ headaches for a variety of reasons. As is usual, many complain about the airport’s outdated facilities and slow service; but one of the more unique issues with LAX is not just its slow speed, but also its location. According to a report from Business Insider, the average time it takes to get from Downtown LA to LAX is over an hour! Apparently, LAX also has a shocking lack of power outlets, which, in today’s world where almost every person traveling has at least a cell phone to charge, is unacceptable.

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