Take Offs & Landings
Not your father’s airport. Rapidly evolving technology is changing the face of travel, and the focus in on you
Where Do We Fly from Here? – A future look at automated airports. More world megaports are on the drawing boards and light rail comes to DFW. Plus Incheon shopping guide.
The year is 2030.You and your business colleagues pull up to Departing Flights, having spent the past half hour comparing notes preparing for your upcoming trip, while your driverless car pilots its way through city traffic to the airport. The car gently glides to a slow moving sidewalks on either side of the welcome lanes.
You and your companions safely exit the vehicle and have ample time to retrieve your luggage from the trunk; your car and all those around you never actually stop moving, so there are no traffic jams. At the end of the people mover, the car glides away down a ramp and speeds off automatically to park itself, and you step off the people mover to enter the terminal building.
You wheel your luggage into the terminal and are confronted with – no lines, no desks, no obvious security checkpoints, none of the familiar accoutrements of airports just a few short years ago.
Your smartwatch beeps with a information has been matched to your pre-booked ticket.Your airline’s business lounge is on the second level past security. Your gate number is B16, and your flight is departing at 1820 hours, 40 minutes late due to storms earlier in the day in Chicago.
This is but the first of several such identification checks you’ll undergo between here and your destination.
At the door, you place your rollerbag on a conveyor and stand on the moving walk beside it for a few feet while it – and you – are scanned again.Your biometrics have been matched to the Universal Cargo Identification chip that’s embedded in your luggage – and in every other piece of cargo in the entire aviation system. The chip is unique to you and your bag, and now it’s been automatically linked to your ticket and this trip.
Above your bag the small display spells out your destination; if the display doesn’t match the city where you’re headed, this is your last chance to retrieve your luggage. However the destination is correct, so you let the bag disappear into the system, reasonably confident it will arrive at your city of choice.
You could stop and shop at any of the landside retail outlets in the airport welcome lobby. Several of the special offers that are pinging your watch and smartphone look particularly appealing; after all, they’re based on your personal profile and past shopping habits.
But the lounge is beckoning, so you don’t want to stop to browse. Instead you take out your tablet and with a few of taps order a couple of interesting-looking items you’ve had your eye on – a pair of noisecanceling earbuds to replace your too-bigfor-carry-on headset, and a bottle of wine you’ve been meaning to try. These will be delivered directly to the lounge by the airport’s concierge cart.
Now it’s time to go through security.You walk down one of several softly lighted tunnels – and you’re done.Your entire security scan was done automatically without the outdated practice of removing clothing, shoes, liquids or electronic devices. The entire process is walk-through, once again using biometrics and locationenabled personal devices to assure you are who you say you are, and are not carrying anything that poses a security risk.
Upon arrival at the lounge, you are greeted by name (lounge personnel already know who you are and what your frequent flier status is and even your beverage