You've most likely noticed that the air travel industry has been making some changes over the last few years. Worry not, 2014 will be no different. In fact, many new trends and test projects rumoured last year are set to become mainstream in 2014. Whilst some new changes will be for the better, other may leave passengers feeling, honestly, a bit vexed.
1. Airports efficiency will be better
A quicker check-in process at airports thanks to the DIY bag tag trend will be possible for passengers. Last year, airlines tested self-tag options in numerous high-traffic airports around the world, obtaining very good results. American Airlines reported that this novel system has sped up check-in times by 55%, and Iberia Airlines experienced comparable results. Additionally, in US due to the growing popularity of TSA's Pre✓™ program, airport security lines are moving faster and they are looking to expand the program to over 100 airports within the States in the upcoming year.
2. Discount airlines to fly across the world
If you’ve ever turned green with envy at the sight of low-cost fares in Europe or Asia you’re in luck. A few new transatlantic carriers (such as Iceland’s Wow) have entered the scene. Thanks to their fuel efficient jets, crossing the pond at a more affordable rate becomes possible. Also India plans to ease airline restrictions this year and lift the ban on Airbus's A380, allowing Singapore Airlines and Malaysia's AirAsia to begin operations in 2014, creating new travel possibilities and better flight connections with Europe and GCC (Lufthansa, British Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airlines) at lower prices.
3. Taxes and fees will increase
Before you get too excited about cheaper fares, hold on to your horses. If you thought fees couldn’t get any worse, you were wrong. They’re expected to go even higher in the upcoming year. However, these fees may be ones that you’re actually willing to pay for, such as an increase of security fees. Also airport taxes will go up a bit in 2014. Thankfully, it’s not too bad, the difference will be of, well, the cost of a bottle of water or a coffee in the airport.
4. Seats will get smaller
If this isn’t motivation enough to revisit that New Year’s resolution to lose weight, I don’t know what is. Boeing is now manufacturing 17″ seats. Let’s hope you like your seat neighbours, because you’ll be getting pretty cosy during flights.
5. You’ll stay connected
Not only will you be closer to your seat mates, but you may also get the opportunity to bond or eavesdrop on their conversations. Air passengers might be allowed to make cell phone calls in-flight, much to the dismay of most travellers starting 2014. The disadvantage: you may never be able to use that “sorry I didn’t answer that email, I was on a flight.” excuse ever again. And airlines are adding in-flight WiFi and power outlets.
6. Private jets will go mainstream
Seats will get smaller and planes are going to get noisier, so you may be wishing you had access to a private jet. Surprise! You do. Companies such as JumpSeat are now offering innovative new jet sharing programs to the masses.