The Future of Flying: Windowless Planes with Panoramic Views

The U.K.-based Centre for Process Innovation has a contradictory vision for the future of flying: windowless cabins with panoramic views.

The U.K.-based Centre for Process Innovation has a vision for the future of flying, and it doesn’t include windows.

No windows, but a 360-degree view of the plane’s exterior?

It’s a neat trick, accomplished with flexible photovoltaic displays mounted on the aircraft’s interior walls, which display a panoramic view of the plane’s surroundings captured by cameras mounted on the aircraft exterior.

CPI claims multiple benefits from the windowless approach, including:

  • A more relaxing, entertaining cabin environment
  • Stronger fuselage
  • Lighter fuselage
  • Thinner fuselage

The artist’s renderings of the windowless plane concept are compelling. The effect is of flying through the air with nothing between you and clouds. Every seat becomes a window seat. Every flight is a thrill ride.

A fuselage with thinner walls could free up interior space for wider seats.

And of course lighter planes use less jet fuel, a significant component in airlines’ operating expenses.

In short, the new technology has the potential to make air travel cheaper, more comfortable, safer, more eco-friendly.

A windowless cabin with a great view: a welcome contradiction. But it’s years away from making an appearance at an airport near you.

According to the company: “We predict large area flexible displays will be commercialized in the next decade. Integration into aircraft will take substantially longer.”

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By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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