Sunday musings: Airline travel and other aviation changes coming our way

Three articles look at upcoming changes to airline travel in 2019. The articles discuss everything from service changes, route changes, drones, artificial intelligence, and seating discomfort.

airline delaysHow Airline Travel Will Change in 2019

A Wendy Perrin interview discusses airline travel shifts in international routes and declining service for passengers everywhere.

1. More international routes.
2. Rise of Portugal and fall of Iceland
3. Shrinking airplane lavs
4. Basic Economy everywhere

7 subtle ways design will change airline travel this year

These seven views of airline travel will all result in major changes in how we move about our cities, the country, and the world. In cities ride sharing will change to create more pick-up and drop-off zones. At airports, artificial intelligence will change terminals. Drones will start to do more city transport chores like traffic monitoring. Scooters will get more rules. Virtual assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Alex will link more easily from desktop to laptop to smartphones. And, more.


Yes, it’s ironic that artificial intelligence will help combat the sense of alienation and dehumanization that’s so pervasive within the current airport experience (see: intrusive security screening, luggage-fee traps, broken boarding processes, and more). But that’s exactly what artificial intelligence will do, especially in our busiest airports. Already, these hubs are being outfitted with more and more sensors, with Delta now operating the first biometric terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The next step is for airports and airlines to use artificial intelligence to stitch together data from all those sensors and clearly establish that you are who you say you are. That trusted source of identity will help solve for the inefficiencies and inhumanities of existing airport processes.

What’s Ahead For Airline Travel And Aviation In 2019

Forbes Magazine discusses declining profitability for airlines, ticket distribution, biometrics, long-term growth, seating discomfort pushback, and the effects of oil prices.

Rising consumer and political criticism of U.S. airlines related to seating discomfort. Congress passed a law in 2018 reauthorizing the FAA for five more years that included directions to the FAA to establish minimum seat size and leg room standards for the industry. The FAA could require airlines to add inches taken away in the last few years from passengers who buy the cheapest fares. Don’t bet on it. More likely: an FAA decision establishing a floor at or near the current tight dimensions, an action that will trigger growing complaints from both consumers and Congress. The big question is whether airlines will care enough to respond positively.