Whether you’re afraid of heights or have severe claustrophobia, Emirates is building a plane that will cater to your worst fears. The Dubai-based airline is currently building a plane with no windows at all. Instead, it plans to replace the windows with floor to ceiling screens that will give an aerial view of the world outside. The window replacement is said to provide views more stunning than anything passengers could see from a window. The technology is already in place in some Emirates flights, but the screens are only about the size of a regular window.
Experts with Emirates have told news outlets like CNN that the technology would make flying cheaper overall. Because of the way planes are weighed down by the weight of the windows it would make it cheaper to fly without windows. The major benefit to windowless planes is that it would create a much lighter aircraft. This would allow the plane to fly higher and faster, shortening overall flight time significantly. Imagine being able to fly across the pacific in less than 10 hours? Sounds like a dream.
Emirates recently began using planes with special, enhanced monitors instead of windows in the first class cabins of a couple of its flights. The planes have special fiber optic cameras outside of the aircraft that are used to project a live feed of the plane’s view into the false window monitors within the plane. Right now these monitors are only about the size of an actual plane window. However, a British company is testing the reality of floor to ceiling monitors. Passengers will eventually be able to choose their own aerial view.
Tim Clark, the president of Emirates Airlines, says that the monitors will be a cost-effective alternative to windows that will ultimately bring down the price of flying. Cook also claimed that the fake windows provide a more crisp view of the outside to the naked eye than in real windows. The only question is how do these fake windows mimic the illumination of natural light? Are they able to light a room in the same way that a real window would?
There are potential issues with the reality of windowless planes. If passengers were able to choose what views to see through their monitors it could pose a risk in case of an emergency. If flight attendants had to do an emergency evacuation but were unable to gauge how conditions were outside, it could pose a safety risk. It would also seem a bit off if you were being tossed around in heavy turbulence while viewing a steady, leisurely flight past the Eiffel Tower.
There are a lot of hurdles to go through before international regulations are met regarding the future of completely windowless planes. So far, only the first class cabins on certain Emirates flights are featuring the high-quality monitors. It seems as if flying is moving in the direction of that one ride at Disney World. If so, sign me up.
Julia Sachs is a staff writer at Grit Daily. She covers tech, entrepreneurship and entertainment news and is based in Park City, Utah.