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airplane seatWould being able to eliminate jet lag make your next long-haul flight more bearable? What about knowing your food tray wouldn’t be jammed into your sternum if the person sitting in front of you decided to recline?

Solutions to both of these air travel problems have recently been proposed, and we at IndependentTraveler.com couldn’t be more excited.

Jet lag is an especially tiresome problem (pun intended) for travelers. But now you can just lather up those photons and erase your jet lag woes, Delta Air Lines promises. And though the “Photon Shower” conjures up futuristic images of a world with hovercrafts and Mars vacations, the device is real — almost.

Designed by a New York firm for Delta, the “Photon Shower” is a vertical shower-stall-style chamber that provides light therapy to users. According to an AdAge blog post, here’s how it works: users input their travel information, then step in and bask in a light sequence that recreates the effects of sunlight, which scientists say combats jet lag and provides a pick-me-up to tired travelers.

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Though it was displayed at the latest TED conference in California, the Shower has not yet been rolled out to airports — and Delta is offering no timeline on when it might be available.

A second technology development, equally as exciting, is sadly even farther away from reality. The result of a global student design competition sponsored by the James Dyson Foundation, the AirGo economy seat is something we’d really like to see installed on airplanes. (ABC News agrees.)

The seat, designed by Malaysian engineering student Alireza Yaghoubi, aims to give fliers access to all their limited seat space, even when the person in front of them reclines. To accomplish this, the tray table and TV screen are housed above the seats, so that when a seat is pushed back it does not force the tray table or TV back as well. In Yaghoubi’s design, the two are attached to an individual bulkhead, which also provides guaranteed baggage storage space for each individual seat (another problem many fliers face!).

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Yaghoubi told ABC News he got the idea for the seats after several uncomfortable eight-hour flights. On a typical flight, he said, the person in front of him reclined his or her seat, occupying one-third of the space he had paid for.

There’s just one problem with the design. It takes up 16 percent more floor space than the seats most airlines have now. But perhaps fliers would be willing to pay a little extra for the security of knowing they’d actually get to use all the space they paid for.

Given a choice, which of the two technological advancements would you like to see become reality first? Let us know below.

— written by Dori Saltzman

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6 Responses to “The Future of Air Travel Is Near”

  1. Ally says:

    definitely the seats! Anything to give me more space. I am a 5’10” woman and travelled this summer with a 6’4″ teenager to and from Africa via Europe. It was painfully uncomfortable and exhausting.

  2. Kathy says:

    The seats! But I don’t think we should have to pay extra to use the space we paid for in the first place.

  3. Mary says:

    The seats. A much simpler solution would be to stop making seats that recline! I NEVER use that option and an totally sick of travelling with someone else’s head darned near in my lap. As for the baggage space, seriously, stop allowing passengers to board with more than a single carry-on case.

  4. Ravindra says:

    If the seat is going to require more floor space, meaning less no of rows in the same airplane, it is not going to work. Airlines will have less no of seats to sell, meaning they have to sell less number of seats at higher price to get the same revenue. The passengers in the Economy class sells on lower price and nothing else. I write this as an economy frequent traveler on various airlineslotheFo.

  5. Lady Marion says:

    The seats!I’d pay a bit extra for those mentioned.

  6. Jeff says:

    The seat design is a waste of effort. If the new design takes up 16% more space, just try moving the existing seats further apart.
    But, I like the idea of disabling or limiting the amount of recline on the existing seats. I rarely use my recline, and the few times I do it is only partially reclined.

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