years ago, air travelers put on their suits, hats, and dresses and drove to the
airport. They parked, and waited in line
to board a plane. When they boarded,
they were served drinks and snacks and usually, a full meal, compliments of the
airline. They relaxed with cigarettes
and they flew, on average, about 400mph to their destination where they
de-planed, waited for their luggage, and found transportation away from the
airport. The telephone-watch was only
worn in the comic-books by Dick Tracey and video phones were so far beyond the
bounds of “the norm” that they weren’t even found in the tomes of science
air travelers put on a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt and they drive to the
airport. They park, and they wait in two lines to board a plane. After they board, they’re denied services
until mid-flight when they might be allowed to purchase some meager
snacks. They fly to their destination at
an average speed of about 400mph where they de-plane, wait for their luggage,
and find transportation away from the airport where they check their watch or
PDA for their daily schedule, and connect to the nearest wireless internet
service to pare down their email or to connect to another web-conference.
wrong with this picture? Are we going
backwards? Come on, isn’t it time for
the next quantum leap in air travel?
up against an impossibly stubborn infrastructure here. Airlines who are just barely profitable (or
not) have an enormous inventory of airplanes that are 20 years old. Designed to practically fly forever, these
behemoths are still in the air, and they’re not flying any faster. New planes aren’t cheap, I get that, but with
advances in fuel consumption technology and air friction efficiency, can’t we
design some more speed into these machines while some scientists work on the
next big thing?
we’re working on a magnetic “plane” that uses the earth’s magnetic fields to
shoot itself around the planet, can we work on the business processes for the
new generation of airports? Why do need
an airport at all? Why can’t I walk up
to the “plane station,” scan my thumb on a pad by the door, and walk on and sit
down? The plane would leave (on time),
there would be plenty of room on board for my bag, and I’d be at work by 9am?
seen some amazing advances in technology. Had I an Xbox 360 when I was a kid, I wouldn’t
have had to waste all those hours playing outside. Still, it seems like we’ve conquered almost “all”
except for… air travel. It’s time!
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding
business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please send an email! Your questions
will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the
Expert podcast show.