Airbus has revealed its concept plane of the future, which makes the A380 superjumbo look like a box glider! Australian Business Traveller has put together these exclusive pictures of the next-generation aircraft -- so join us for a walk through the sci-fi experience of flying in 2050...
The plane of the future is angular -- presumably made of carbon fibre or some exciting new material -- and has two engines underneath the main body.
Airbus hasn't suggested how you'll get into your plane in 2050 -- still a jetbridge, most likely.
The door's in the centre of the plane, and is an interesting trapezoidal shape for reasons best known to Airbus.
Instead of business and economy class, Airbus suggests that it'll be called "Vitalising" and "Smart Tech". That'll be two Smart Tech tickets for Melbourne, please...
At the back of the bus in Smart Tech, Airbus reckons there'll be a 3-3 layout, although we find it hard to imagine that the aisle will be that big on a production aircraft. Surely 2050 hover-trolleys won't need that much room as they deliver your pellet sandwiches.
In a leaf taken out of the convertible "Eurobusiness" seats, where the same seats serve for Business and Economy on short-haul flights in the EU (and on some Qantas flights), the cabin is rearranged based on how full the plane is. Except instead of a curtain and a little winch, it'll all happen automagically.
You'll be sitting on "morphing seats", Airbus reckons. We think the glowing blue might put people off, but then again we didn't think that airline seatback massage functions would work either. (We were right about the seatback massage functions.)
If you walk forward form "Smart Tech" towards "Vitalising", you'll come to the central multi-function pod, where you entered the plane. Airbus suggests this will be the work, play and relaxation centre of the plane of the future.
Virtual golf will be just one of the options for play in the central pod. From the stick men, it also looks like Airbus will offer running, judo, baseball and tennis.
The central pod will also be available for meetings and presentations. Unfortunately, it looks like PowerPoint will still be around in 2050.
The middle part of the pod raises up out of the floor to become a bar. No info yet on whether it will be available to Smart Tech passengers or reserved for Vitality travellers...
At the front of the plane in VItalising class, the roof has been replaced by a membrane, which can turn completely clear. Seating is in a comfortable 2-2-2 layout, and the view can't be beat.
The seats swivel to follow the view, although we can't imagine that having them all swivel at the same time will be particularly popular.
The panoramic view out the front is pretty impressive, since the pilots are on a lower level.
"Sound showers" spread out above the seats at night -- but what are they? Noise cocoons? Sonic washing devices? In-flight entertainment audio?
The cockpit seems to be tucked just underneath the panoramic windows above...but what takes up the rest of the plane? Cargo alone, or some quiet, dark bunks to get some proper rest?
So that's Airbus' vision of the plane of the future. What's your favourite bit, or what would you like to see? Share your thoughts on Twitter (@AusBT) or in a comment below.