Cutting-edge technology will make the airport of the future a queue-free, stress-free zone and could even make airports change their guidelines about how early you should arrive for your flight. Ok, that might be a little too optimistic.
Airport Parking and Hotels have drawn up a concept of what a standard international airport will look like in 2040, based on technologies which are being trialed and developed today.
The company believes these new technologies will "enable airports to create a much more pleasant experience and work around the issues that they currently face".
So, let's take a look at some of its predictions:
1. No waiting to drop and collect luggage
Luggage: we can't wait to get rid of it, then we rush to pick it back up. However, we can never do either as quickly as we'd like. That could all change in 25 years, though, when staffed bag drop desks will be replaced with automated kiosks. This should speed up the process considerably, with self-service kiosks allowing passengers to properly drop and go.
Then, when you come to pick your luggage up on the other side, instead of waiting around at a baggage carousel, chips embedded in your suitcases or luggage tags will send an alert to your smartphone notifying you when it has been placed on the carousel.
2. Multiple travel documents to be condensed into a single token
In this day and age, we shouldn't have to queue up at passport control to have our identities checked by a human being, should we? Of course, ePassport gates have made for faster entry at some airports, but they still require passengers to search through their bags for their passport, which can delay the process somewhat.
Good news. In 2040, passengers will be given a biometric token that will serve as their passport, boarding pass and ID for the journey, without having to keep hold of their separate documents. In order to be issued with this token, each traveller will be scanned for biometric identifiers unique to them, such as iris patterns.
3. Move seamlessly through security
Security checkpoints are another potential blackspot for queues, what with people forgetting what liquids they can and can't take through, while others have forgotten altogether that liquids must be displayed in a transparent bag.
It's maddening for those organised passengers who just want to pass through security as quickly as possible so they can have a browse at the duty free goods. Thankfully, the concept suggests metal detectors and bag inspections will one day be a thing of the past. Used in their place will be laser molecular body scanners, originally designed for medical use, to detect banned items hidden in clothing or luggage.
4. Virtual duty free
Browsing the duty free goods will prove very different indeed, however, with touchscreens set to replace stores; supplemented by a virtual assistant that can speak a number of languages. However, many predicted that high street retail would have died by now, but that still seems to be breathing.
It just goes to show, predictions about the future need to be taken with a pinch of salt. For travel brands, the focus should be on the here and now, concentrating on the technologies that can make an immediate difference. For more information, Contact Digital Trip today.