Feature

The 'awesome' see-through airplane of the future

Airbus unveils its vision for air travel in 2050, complete with a transparent plane, auto-morphing seats, and virtual golf. Is this really the future of flying?

The video: Airbus is offering a sun-splashed view of what air travel might look like in 2050. On Tuesday, the European aircraft maker released its concept for a futuristic jet cabin with a skeletal structure that mimics bird bones, and cabin walls that become transparent to "give passengers open panoramic views." (Watch a video below.) Passengers wouldn't be divided into cabin classes, but instead hang out in several "personalized zones," where they could host interactive conferences, virtually shop for clothes, breathe in "vitamin and anti-oxidant enriched air," or even play virtual golf. Seats would adjust to each person's body shape and, if the plane is less than full, they would redistribute themselves to maximize legroom. 

The reaction: The notion "of hurtling through the sky in a transparent airplane" could "unsettle" some people,  says Max Eddy at Geekosystem, but this vision of future air travel "at least seems hopeful. Except for the whole on-board virtual golf thing. That's just stupid." Well, if Airbus can really make this happen, flying in the future will be "pretty awesome," says Julie Zeveloff at Business Insider. But the truth is that "such an imaginative new plane seems more like science fiction," says Scott McCartney in The Wall Street Journal — especially because history suggests "that when manufacturers envision grand dreams for passenger comforts, airlines simply see more room for cramming in more seats." See the Airbus video:

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