On Air travel …

Recently I had the opportunity of flying out to Dubai from Ottawa, and back, stopping at Toronto and Heathrow. In total it was around 26 hours in the air, over two airlines (Air Canada and British Airways), in three different kind of aircraft (B767, B777, B747).

I have flew more than many people over the years, in all kinds of routes, most of it in my youth, and I still hold the romantic view of air travel, going somewhere far away, in a decent way, including edible food and a movie.

I remember the old days of the classic wide body aircraft (DC10, A340) where there was only a couple of movie screens for all the economy class, where the movie was shared among all. Maybe the only option of “personalized content” was a selection of audio tracks. People will have the window shades open, to see the sky, the terrain, or try to guess where were we, and maybe a friendly Captain will address the passengers to describe an interesting view along the way.

Today people will set in their seats after fighting for the overhead bin space, close the shades immediately, and see the movies, the route can be followed in individual tablets in front of each seat, and (as far as I understand, in the A380), even see different camera angles from the outside of the airplane itself. According to Economist, some airlines are beginning to play with the idea if virtual reality headsets to provide enhanced reality content, to even isolate the passengers from their neighbors and from the whole flying experience, and some are also touting the idea of a window less aircraft to project enhanced reality content on the sides / ceiling of the cabin.

Also, the airplane food feels far away from a showcase of the cuisine of airline host country, their wines, coffee, some dessert or beverage; today, its a mass produced, hypo-allergenic, bland “food”, or at least in economy (“cattle”) class.

Maybe Gulliver knows if Business or First Class still has some decent food in it, to try to preserve the romanticism of air travel.


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