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3 Ways the Airline Industry Is Set to Completely Change the Way We Fly

The airline industry is constantly evolving, but most of its evolution is incremental in nature. New aircraft may be more fuel efficient, services change, and booking goes online, but flying itself hasn't changed much in decades.

That may change over the next few years as airlines and airplane manufacturers explore new technologies. Here are a few developments that have caught our eye.

Source: Airbus patent filing.

And while it's a stretch to say the industry is "set" to do anything about it, what with the fact that pretty much everything about modern air travel from terminals to maintenance bays set up for the traditional plane shape, there are better, more aerodynamic shapes that would also allow for more flexible and open passenger seating.

Late last year, Airbus filed a patent for what has since been dubbed the "flying doughnut":

Airbus claims that this design would allow for better aerodynamics, and that seating could be laid out in a more "auditorium" design in the center of the plane, giving passengers more freedom of movement, while also giving airlines more ways to customize seating and amenities such as lounges and bathrooms.

Airbus may never move forward with the flying doughnut, but it's a reminder that the current "tube with wings" design is less about being the best, and more about the standard that the entire industry - and its infrastructure of airports - has been built around over the past 50 years.

Flying in the future

Maybe it's wishful thinking, but maybe flying in 50 years will be powered partially by the sun, be faster than the speed of sound, in aircraft that are actually comfortable to fly in. At least one of those improvements may make its way to commercial aircraft and that may change how we fly forever.

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The article 3 Ways the Airline Industry Is Set to Completely Change the Way We Fly originally appeared on Fool.com.

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