As the World Turns
In search of the Next Big Thing, a traveler may miss the obvious
Once more the circle of the year has come around, and we find ourselves back, it seems, at something of a starting point. In the US, Labor Day is past, and for many of us, that means after the relative doldrums of summer the momentum of business travel accelerates; setting up meetings, boarding airplanes, booking hotel rooms, making restaurant reservations, renting cars – if you’re a business traveler, you know the drill.
In fact, we all know the drill so well that we become inured to – or at least blasé about – the marvel of what every trip entails. Hurtling through the atmosphere at 500-plus miles an hour in an aluminum (or increasingly, a composite) tube with thousands of moving parts, to reach a city half-way round the world, to shake somebody’s hand and share your stories.
It’s a wonder that any of it works at all; that it works as well as it does is downright astounding. Try not to lose sight of that next time you’re standing in the airport security line.
Perhaps as astonishing is how swiftly it all has become so commonplace. Here at Business Traveler it’s our job to keep an eye on the leading edge of travel. As a consequence, lots of newsy little tidbits come our way; some are downright outlandish, others more intriguing – and a few may even the Next Big Thing.
Two items crossed my desk recently, one looking back at a bit of history and another casting a forward glance. Each was intriguing in its own right; both together gave me pause to think about the nature of change in this business of travel.
First, the history. This July marked the 60th anniversary of the Boeing Dash 80’s maiden flight – the prototype of the plane that would become the legendary 707. It didn’t take long for this flying machine to turn the world literally upside down, becoming part of a whole cultural revolution and shrinking the distances separating far-off places from days to hours. In 1954, it was truly the Next Big Thing. Now for the future cast. Paris-based Technicon Design has conceived a business aircraft interior that would display, in real time, 360-degree views of the plane’s exterior environment on flexible screens lining the interior cabin – including the walls and ceiling. The effect is to give passengers the feeling of flying through the air in a big glass tube.
It would be like the images you see from those inflight tail cameras, only splashed all over the inside of your plane in high definition.
So is this destined to be the Next Big Thing in travel? Will it be a game-changer like the 707 was? Obviously it’s too soon to say.
But in every issue of Business Traveler, you’ll find stories about developments in travel that will at least offer you a new outlook, if not change your game entirely. This month we explore what’s coming in the premium cabin experience ( Games of Thrones, page 30) and inflight technology ( Lofty Connections, page 16).
Whether it’s elegance meeting adventure ( The Beyond Amazing List, page 20) or rising stars of hospitality (Asia’s Business Players, page 24), in this and every issue, you’ll find forward looking stories about the travel future that’s coming your way.
But even as you read in these pages about all the changes in travel, remember: It’s travel itself that changes things – and changes us. All the creativity and energy and technology that goes into making travel better has but one goal – to take us places, expand our view and better connect us to our world.
So if you’re searching for the Next Big Thing in travel, remember – travel is the Next Big Thing. BT