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NOW BOARDING

Technology can improve the experience of flying—even for those of us at the back of the plane

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren,
Soaring into the future?
  • Natasha Frost
By Natasha Frost

Reporter

We don’t like the dry air. We don’t like the food (and we especially don’t like it when it runs out, and we don’t get to choose). We don’t like the grubby toilets. We don’t like queueing to get on (or off). We don’t like the plane’s roar as we’re trying to sleep. We don’t like having to fight for the overhead cabins. We don’t like the intermittent wifi. We don’t like the bumps of unexpected turbulence. We don’t like the chairs. We definitely don’t like how much all this ignominy and discomfort costs.

All told, we mostly just… don’t like flying. And we especially don’t like it in cattle class, elbow-to-elbow, fighting for every inch of armrest or glint of sunlight.

But there are technological fixes for almost all of these micro-irritations. And though not all of them make economic sense for us schlubs at the back, a significant number are likely to be rolled out cabin-wide in the years to come. Some will be so slight that we scarcely notice them; others, like functional wi-fi, will be as transformative as the in-flight entertainment systems we now dismiss as commonplace.

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