Windowless Airplanes May Be in Our Future…

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Are you a traveler who usually chooses the window seat on an airplane? Many people do this so they can look out the window and watch the world beneath them, however, Emirates Airlines based in Dubai recently said airplane windows may soon be a thing of the past. Here, our Philly Airport parking company shares an article from USA Today’s Ben Mutzabaugh about the idea:

“Would you want to fly eight hours or more on a airplane with no windows?

That could be the future of flying, says Emirates airlines president Tim Clark. Instead of real windows on the outside of the plane, passengers may instead look at images streamed onto a virtual window that’s only on the inside of the cabin.

“Imagine now a fuselage as you’re boarding with no windows, but when you get inside, there are windows,” Clark said to BBC News. “Now you have one fuselage which has no structural weaknesses because of windows. The aircraft are lighter, the aircraft could fly faster, they’ll burn far less fuel and fly higher.”

It may sound far-fetched, but a limited version of the concept is already flying on the Dubai-based airline’s new Boeing 777-300ER jets.

Emirates, known for its lavish first-class suites, has already installed a type of virtual window on its suites occupying the middle section of the 777-300ER’s first-class cabin; the suites in the middle would not ordinarily have a window since they’re not adjacent to the cabin wall. Emirates’ suites along the sides of the cabin have normal windows.

Clark expanded on the idea of virtual windows via a podcast posted to Emirates’ website.

Clark described how it would work, saying that “on the outside there will appear to be no windows, but on the inside there will be a full display of windows. And we will use fiber-optic camera technology to beam in the images from the outside into those windows — as we have done on the first-class suites.”

And the quality? Possibly better than one might assume…

Still, the BBC notes concerns about the idea remain.

Among the most obvious is that passengers might simply have a preference for the real thing.

“An aircraft could be very claustrophobic and for many, air travel is anxiety inducing already,” Graham Braithwaite, an aviation safety expert and a professor at Cranfield University in England, said to the BBC.

More importantly, virtual windows could raise concerns about safety.

“Being able to see outside the aircraft in an emergency is important, especially if an emergency evacuation has to take place,” Braithwaite added to the BBC.

For now, at least, regulators in Europe seemed to suggest the idea could fly.

“We do not see any specific challenge that could not be overcome to ensure a level of safety equivalent to the one of an aircraft fitted with cabin windows,” the agency said in a statement to the BBC.”

What do you think of the idea of a windowless plane? Would you still want to fly in it? Our Philly Airport parking company would love to know your thoughts!

*Photo courtesy of Emirates