Mrs. Animal and I do more than the average amount of air travel, and it is as it has been of late: Uncomfortable and inconvenient. But there are ideas floating around to make air travel at least a little uncomfortable. To that end, Airbus may have a neat new concept for air travel. Excerpt:
The European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has unveiled a model of what it believes may be the future of passenger-aircraft designs.
The Model Aircraft for Validation and Experimentation of Robust Innovate Controls, or Maveric, made its debut at the Singapore Airshow 2020 on Tuesday. The new aircraft design seeks to upend the long-standing tradition of tube-shaped aircraft fuselages.
The model reflects what a “blended-wing” design, a concept used mainly in military aircraft, would look like for commercial planes.
Maveric is in the initial stages of development. Airbus quietly launched the project in 2017 and began tests on a small remote-controlled model in 2019.
Though it looks like something out of a science-fiction movie, aircraft with designs like the Maveric may become a reality if Airbus, one of the largest commercial-aircraft manufacturers, has its way.
Take a look at what may be the aircraft design of the future.
Here’s the neat bit:
A wider aircraft could also allow for a more open concept on board and make the cabin feel less congested compared with current-generation aircraft designs.
Less congested would be awesome.
One of my major peeves with air travel is how damn tight everything is on a typical airliner. On international flights, as Mrs. A and I took earlier this week, we generally spring for United’s upgraded Premiere Economy seats, which are roughly the equivalent of the old Business Class; with this section selection we get wider seats and fewer people per overhead bin. But those seats involve a not-insignificant extra cost, and while Mrs. A and I are empty-nesters and owners of a reasonably successful business and so can afford those seats, that’s not an option for everyone. And the standard Economy seats are a trial for someone of my 6’1″ stature.
These concept art depictions (and, by all means, go look at them) literally paint quite a different picture.
Here’s the catch, though: While the shorter, wider layout does seem to give a sense of more breathing space, I’m damned certain that the airlines would capitalize on that by cramming in the same crappy, undersized seating. That’s not a problem without compensations; adjusted for inflation, air travel is cheaper now than it has ever been in the past, and the price we pay for that is crowding, rude one-time travelers and three-year-olds kicking the backs of our minimum-pitch seats.
So, this Airbus concept may be neat – and neat it is – but will it make air travel significantly more comfortable in practice? Color me skeptical.