Date Posted: 27/06/2018
Think of all the times when you have been asked window or aisle when selecting seats, or when you get assigned Row 9 on the Qantas Boeing 737-800, and your left with a blank wall with no window trying to catch a glimpse of the view outside though the window in front.
As we are all aware by now Emirates has introduced virtual windows on-board their newly configured Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, featuring fully enclosed luxurious First Class suites. Passengers traveling in the centre of the aircraft are often left missing out on the breathtaking views outside, but thanks to this new technology of virtual windows, everyone is left with a window seat in the First Class cabin, no matter where you are situated within the cabin.
These virtual windows first made their debut on Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER at the Dubai Air Show late last year. Fibre optic cameras are situated on the outside of the aircraft and then transmit and project the image onto a look a like window, making the view seem authentic as possible.
So why take the windows out of an aircraft’s fuselage in the first place.
Removing windows allows for a more structurally safe aircraft as there is no need to compromise the fuselage by cutting out a series of rectangle shapes on each side of the fuselage. The outside fuselage can then be fully manufactured out of carbon fibre materials, reducing the overall weight of the aircraft which also reduces the rate of fuel consumption per flight. Planes would also be able to travel faster and at a higher altitude as a result of having no windows.
With the cost of oil rising and now forecasted to be 27% higher than it current cost price, even higher then the original forecasted rate. The average cost of Brent Crude oil is set to rise to approximately USD$70 per barrel. So if there is any way an airline can reduce its fuel consumption, it’s something that’s worthwhile looking into. Over a whole fleet within one airline carrier it has the potential to save the company millions of dollars in excess fuel each year.
There are some major questions that are needed to be asked prior to its implementation. What happens if there is a technical failure, as we all know and have experienced at some point in our lives they do happen from time to time with very little warning. Will all those passengers on-board left looking at a blank wall. In specific situations, such as an emergency landing or a reason to evacuate the aircraft, how are passengers or crew going to look outside to see if there are any dangerous obstacles or fire prior to opening the emergency exits and evacuation the aircraft.
With virtual windows now becoming a reality, there is no time frame as to when these windowless planes will become a reality, its more than likely something that’s will be around in the next few centuries.
Virtual windows are already been predicted to be included on cruise ships. Royal Caribbean’s “Virtual state rooms of the future” will include virtual windows. Broadcasting images of the outside surroundings straight into your cruise ship cabin, but I suspect the saving won’t be as high when compared to an airline.