A Look At The Current Air Travel Trends And What Is Making Us Excited

Mere decades ago, air travel was still considered a rarefied mode of transport, within reach only for an elite sector of travelers. Today, it's much, much more accessible. From new technology to new fleets, changes are taking hold in the air travel industry and we're all about it. Here, in no particular order, are some of the top trends in air travel that have us excited to keep flying—and seeing more of the world.

A Look At The Current Air Travel Trends And What Is Making Us Excited

    Economy class perks are back

    Improvements to the coach cabin, like new seats and complimentary amenities, could make 2019 the year where economy class actually gets better for the first time in decades.

    Travelers with disabilities are getting their own spaces

    Airports everywhere are making strides to be more inclusive to fliers with autism or other developmental disabilities. Sensory rooms, or spaces to soothe travelers with autism, have popped up at several airports—most recently in Pittsburgh.

    One new aircraft could change international travel

    Airbus's latest sensation, the A321XLR aircraft, might just be poised to change how international travelers fly. The single-aisle jet is opening up new routes and flight frequencies, and it's forcing airlines to rethink the in-flight experience.

    There are actually airports we want to hang out in

    Many of the airports and terminals that debuted this year are trying to become destinations in and of themselves with appealing restaurants, indoor parks, spectacular views, and slick design elements. Some U.S. airports are even letting customers who aren't traveling go through security to eat and hang out in their terminals.

    Flight booking is going non-binary

    Earlier this year, United became the first U.S. airline to offer a non-binary gender booking option. American, Delta, Southwest and Alaska have all said they plan to follow suit. It's a small but necessary start.

    Biometric data might make boarding more efficient

    Biometric boarding and security services like Clear are improving processes that used to be done manually. It's raising issues about data—and who has access—but this trend isn't going away any time soon. In fact, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has vowed to institute facial recognition systems at the top 20 U.S. airports (by foreign arrivals) by 2021.

    Everyone's cutting down on plastic waste

    The air travel industry also hopped on the no-plastic bandwagon this year—most prominently with San Francisco's airport banning all plastic water bottles and Qantas launching the first-ever zero-waste flight.

    We're getting closer to supersonic flight

    Several companies are on the brink of carrying commercial passengers at twice the speed of sound once again. That would mean flying from the U.S. to Tokyo in as little as five hours. Supersonic commercial flight hasn't occurred since the iconic Concorde flew its swan song in 2003. With NASA and Lockheed Martin researching ways to create a "quiet sonic boom," it seems that the ability to buy a flight on an aircraft with Mach 2 speeds is only a few years away.

    Free Wi-Fi is on its way

    Airlines are working to make in-flight Wi-Fi free for all travelers. Delta tested this on 55 flights for two weeks this year, with great success, and said it plans to expand this service in coming months.

    Why Planes Shouldn't Have Free Wi-Fi

    Why Planes Shouldn't Have Free Wi-Fi

    Condé Nast Traveler - by CNT Editors

    The debate is on: Should you have to pay to play in-flight or should airlines open the floodgates of free Wi-Fi? Planes are getting more and more advanced. Soon, you may have your own bed in the cargo hold on long-haul routes, while entire in-flight menus are being designed to fight jet lag. But, …