Tomorrow's Travel Today

Mike Hayes

Tomorrow’s travel today

The wait is over, with some incredible technological innovations either on the market now or just months away for travellers and stay-at-homers alike…

Smartwatches. As our smartphones and phablets get evermore unwieldy, these little marvels will sync with them and keep us up to speed with texts and tweets while we’re on the move.  They’ll also be able to keep us entertained with music and help with our fitness regimes.

Budget long-haul: Refined and enhanced GE/Snecma engines, with 20 per cent greater efficiency have been introduced to Norwegian Airlines’ Boeing 737s. The upshot of this innovation is that, from this summer, the airline will be making transatlantic flights for the first time, with one-way fares between London Gatwick and New York from around US$240. The Gatwick / Los Angeles ticket costs around US$320.

Google Glass: Perhaps not the finished article just yet, but this Glass is at least half full, with the potential to literally change the way we see the world around us.
And who doesn’t want to talk to their glasses while on their travels? Feel free to ask them about the town, city or village you’re currently in; let them walk you to the nearest fine dining establishment, or even show you what the view your seeing now looked like in the past.

Space tourism: No more hype, it’s time for the real thing, as Richard Branson gears up for Virgin Galactic’s first commercial flights. This year, we’ll see only suborbital flights from Virgin, but outer space – the ultimate travelling experience – is on the cards in the near future.

The credit/debit/everything card: This year, US travellers will be leaving their bulging wallets and purses at home and taking just one very special card with them.
The card, developed by Coin, replaces up to eight alternative pieces of plastic, be they credit, debit, loyalty or gift cards. Just press the button to select the relevant card and insert or swipe it in the usual way.
And the best bit? If you’re out on the town and you get separated from your precious card, your smartphone will let you know, as the two devices are synced.

Mobile boarding passes: Following in the footsteps of Japan Airlines, easyJet has become the first European airline to allow passengers to board their aircraft using boarding passes on their mobile phones.
The passes are downloaded onto passengers’ mobile devices via easyJet’s app, but will for now only be available to those travelling out of Belfast International Airport.
Meanwhile, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s Near Fied Communication (NFC)-ready boarding gate will allow passengers to board by simply tapping their NFC-enabled smartphones on the reader.
It’s not the end of check-in hell, but it may be the beginning of the end…

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