A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, normally taken with a hand-held camera phone. They have become quite popular among the young and are usually associated with social networks on Internet.
The air industry is on the way to become an ongoing selfie for passengers. There is a strong trend in airport processes towards more and more self-service technologies. Air travel has become a commodity; as a result, a constant struggle to minimize costs is everywhere. Labor costs and the threat of a unionized workforce are pushing the industry to switch to high-tech gadgets where the passenger is required to DIY (Do it Yourself)
Passengers are booking their tickets on-line and printing their boarding passes at home. Once at the departure lounge, self-service bag drop and self-tagging solutions are being implemented in many airports. Automated boarding pass controls are on the rise at the latest Passenger Terminal in Barcelona. Automated passport controls are a reality as well.
Yes, food can still be purchased airborne, but some passengers bring home made sandwiches to be eaten on board. Even some airlines are encouraging passengers to travel light – with hand luggage only – in order to eliminate the handling of the passenger baggage in the hold.
Airports and airlines are empowering passengers to take care of themselves.
What the general public may not be aware of is that self-piloted private airplanes are on their way as well. We all have heard of UAV – Unmanned Air Vehicles – especially in the military industry. Right now they might seem remote and far away from commercial air travel. It is not quite so.
Very few visionaries would have thought – in the 1920’s – that private vehicles would be at the reach of a common man only 40 years later.
Time keeps ticking by. Needless to say that it is only a matter of years to finally make a selfie at 30,000 feet from the ground in the cockpit of your very own UAV.
Long-term land-use planners should start thinking about it.