We live in an age where saving time is more important than saving money. Perhaps that is why air travel, which was previously reserved exclusively for wealthy people or emergencies, is now used alongside competitors, i.e. rail and road transport. The number of passengers flying has increased several times over the last couple of decades, and the number is still growing. Decades ago, only mature, developed and wealthy states, such as the US, European countries, Japan, Singapore, etc., had air communication with major domestic cities as well as international destinations. But now the number of countries connected by air has increased sharply, and this is not the end. Domestic air communication has also increased, connecting many cities of different countries. Not only developed and rich countries, but also developing countries such as China, India, Brazil, etc., have gained a lot due to the growth of air communication. Not only has communication improved, but the experience of air travel has also improved. Let’s look at aspects that have changed significantly over the last few decades.
Air travel, which from the beginning was the fastest mode of transport, has become even faster over time. The flight from the Australian subcontinent to London was and remains one of the longest flights known. In the late 1950s, the cities of Sydney and London were connected by Qantas Airways. Then the trip was a 4-day, with a whopping 55 hours in the air and a flight that touched the ground in six places besides Sydney and London. The airline still operates between countries, but differently. The new Kangaroo Route 2018, as Qantas Airways calls it, connects Perth with London without stopping or touching anywhere else. The journey now takes just 17 hours in the air, overcoming more than 9,000 miles in the air in one takeoff.
Not even the most time is in the air and does not cover the longest distance in one takeoff. As aircraft became more efficient and technologically advanced, flights with even more air time and travel became possible. Another Qatar Airlines venture between Auckland and Doha is now the longest flight, overcoming a staggering 9025 miles per run (or flight) that lasts in the air from 16 to 18 hours. Imagine how long passengers clung to their seats!
There is a reason why the early flight period was called the “Golden Age” of flying. The price, which the passengers later paid for the fare, was reimbursed by the food and drinks served during the voyage. But the airlines had their problems. Leaflets of the early 1920s dealt with weight problems when there were cases where passengers were weighed before boarding. The same rule applied to food, which limited the amount of food carried to heaven. As the planes improved and the trips became longer, the food became hotter. Food was more than just survival. In the early 1930s there were kitchens that could provide hot meals and a dining room where passengers gathered and celebrated in the air. Then, in the 1940s, came the era of frozen foods, thanks to which various dishes were served in the sky. As the aircraft increased, the number of passengers flying increased, and the space for storing air food increased. But now personalization has become important compared to offering unified exotic dishes for the entire group of passengers. Airlines now allow passengers to order food of their choice before boarding, which will be delivered directly to their location. For example, iFLEAT is a mobile service that delivers food ordered by passengers from the restaurant directly to its seats. The service is now linked to Air Berlin, and in the future it plans to merge with more airlines. Although catering providers will feel the impact of this service during the flight, it is a win-win situation for the passenger as the person gets food to choose from as well as the airline as they may be able to keep their customers by allowing them to do what they like.
Entertainment and communication in flight
A recent survey of airline passengers stated that Wi-Fi is more important than food for passengers traveling by air. It shows how connected people are to the internet. And even airlines are trying to retain existing customers and attract more customers by providing entertainment and connecting to them. Many airlines already offer Wi-Fi on at least some flights, but travelers have to buy the service. Airlines provide free internet access only to first class travelers. Names in the aviation industry, such as Etihad, Finnair, Lufthansa, etc., provide Internet access throughout or part of the fleet, but at the expense of passengers. On the other hand, few such as Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, etc. that provide their passengers with free Wi-Fi. There are many travelers who pray for this to happen to all airlines and I also hope it happens soon. As the number of travelers is expected to double by 2035, according to the market research company, the airlines will make many more changes to attract new passengers and retain existing ones.