In the time of high social media and technological innovations, our lives are constantly being changed in an effort to improve. The travel industry has grown almost more complex in an attempt to simplify travelers’ lives. Some websites hunt down the best hotel and plane ticket dealsfor you. Then there are apps that help you navigate through an airport, give you baggage claim info, or entertain you during a long flight.
But eventually innovation spills over into the unnecessary, and in this case, the creepy. The travel app "Quicket,” which previously had harmless features like booking a flight or checking if your flight was on time, was recently updated with a “social check-in” feature that basically allows passengers to “creep” on the Facebook pages of their seatmates before takeoff. Here’s how it works:
There are three options for the social check-in to work. You can be anonymous, provide your name, or provide your name and a link to your Facebook profile. But if your seatmates decide to upload links to their social media profiles, the benefit isn’t quite clear. Are you supposed to look over their favorite books and movies for conversation fodder? If you dislike the person’s political views, do you then pretend to be asleep for the whole flight? And what if they see your profile and want to give you advice about your “It’s Complicated” relationship status? Quicket seems to be both fulfilling and creating a need to have a social media connection with everyone we meet.
Quicket is mildly disturbing as a personal intrusion, but it is still less unsettling than the Wingman app. Wingman’s goal is to match “attractive” people together according to their flight. The rest can be inferred from their website, which says things like “We like our privacy. No one needs to know you were ever here. It’s out little secret,” and the non-platonic “You won’t have all day, so make a move. Technically, the fun only lasts as long as your flight does. Or does it?” Jezebel didn’t beat around the bush when it wrote about the app with the headline“Here’s an App for Having Sex at 30,000 Feet.” It seems as though the future of flying is becoming a lot more personal.
But the future of aviation is also based on a greener performance by the aircrafts. While airlines are looking for ways for airplanes to save energy and burn less fuel, other innovations have been considered. Depending on how you feel about heights, this innovation might be a bit eerie. One way of saving energy over the next 40 years would be to eliminate windows from airplanes, because the windows’ weight affects fuel efficiency and thus the CO2 emissions. Instead, the cabin would have a membrane that becomes transparent, allowing passengers to have an all-encompassing scenic view. The transparency will come at the touch of a button, and give people the impression that they are in an invisible airplane, just like Wonder Woman. For people with a fear of heights, this change may not be welcome.
The concept art for the plane shows only seats and a luggage rack surrounded by sky and clouds. The real question is, will passengers be able to fall asleep on these flights? Sure, it might look beautiful under the stars, but won’t people experience some panic on the descent as the ground rushes up to meet them? We won’t know the answers for a few more decades. For now, Huffington Post ran an article about the “airplane of the future,” with a poll asking its readers if the plane was “AWESOME!” Or “TERRYFYING!” The votes were close, with 45.13% saying that the new airplane design would terrify them. But on the plus side, absolutely everyone will have a window seat.