Upon flying with Garuda Indonesia, I found myself disappointed upon the pilot announced that in half an hour we’ll reach our destination, especially since the onboard movie I watched is highly interesting and it’s still half-way through the story. I’ve managed to be fully awake as well during the whole time, enjoying the food, treats, and busy trying out their onboard entertainment facility, while thinking out how to improve the User Experience of its GUI.
Upon flying with low cost carriers however, like Lion Air or even the flashy ones like Air Asia, I often awaken in the middle of my sleep during the flight and thinking that the engine sound is too loud, I can’t straighten my legs properly, and silently complained why we haven’t reached our destination yet. That is the usual case as the only practical entertainment to have onboard is looking out of the windows, or catching a glimpse of the cute stewardess as they walk around the cabin. Well, you get what you paid for.
I also been thinking that the real Customer Experience improvements that could happen on flights anyway, is to shift the paradigm of flying itself. How? By introducing, instead of denying, the real flying experience.
The current experience I believe, is geared to shelter and minimizing the passenger’s real-flying experience, up to the point where passengers are made to believe that they’re still on ground somewhere, as most of what they can see are rows of passenger seats, and very small windows. Sans the bad weather bumps and take-off accelerations, viscerally you can be tricked into thinking you’re somewhere stationery, and on the ground, while in fact you’re cruising thousands of feet above the earth at about 900 Km/h, almost three times faster than the fastest Formula 1 racing car runs.
What would be neat instead, is to expose the passengers into the true experience of flying, by introducing see-through walls; an effect impossible to obtain using traditional glass windows, but will be obtainable soon using the combination of durable and flexible LCD screens with fast video cameras. The idea is for the camera to capture the views of the environment outside of the airplane then project it in real-time (or nanoseconds delay) into the flexible LCD panels installed on/as the plane’s interior walls. Imagine experiencing the near-space sky full with stars, or travelling among the clouds, and… nothing below you to catch your fall.
While the last feature might pose a greater challenge to those already having phobia of flying, or being in a high place, it might reduces the fear of those having phobia of closed space… or convert his phobia into the first two. As for myself I’m more than eager to have such experience, how about you? (byms)