The day will come when reality becomes obsolete. That’s a day Emirates Airlines boss Sir Tim Clark is looking forward to, because it would mean replacing all the windows on their planes with virtual views.
Instead of windows, Emirates planes will have screens projecting real-time images from outside the plane. So, instead of looking out of windows to see the real world, passengers will be looking at screens with images of the real world, shot in real time with cameras fixed to the plane.
All irony aside, the switch would bring considerable improvements. Because the planes would no longer have to be fitted for windows, they would be lighter, more structurally sound and faster. They would also be able to fly higher than they currently do, and would cost less to manufacture. Plus, passengers would no longer have to fight for the window seat.
As of this moment, virtual views can be found in the first class cabin of Emirates’ newest Boeing 777-300ER, with Sir Clark telling the BBC that the images are “so good, it's better than with the natural eye.” He wants to make the change on other planes as well.
“Imagine now a fuselage as you're boarding with no windows, but when you get inside, there are windows,” he explains. “Now you have one fuselage which has no structural weaknesses because of windows. The aircraft are lighter, the aircraft could fly faster, they'll burn far less fuel and fly higher.”
Safety concerns for a windowless airplane include the fact that cabin crew have to look outside for fire, smoke or any other sign of danger before opening the door in case of an accident. There is also the aspect that many people get plane sick or claustrophobic and would rather they looked outside an actual window instead of a screen made to look like one.