Will Space Flight Shrink or Expand Opulent Air Travel?
Presently we enjoy a great deal of luxury when flying, whether it be on a commercial airline or in the comfort and privacy of ones own jet. It is now possible to have entire beds, televisions, power outlets, as well as real dinning plates; and that’s just on commercial jets. Step into the world of private aviation and you’re welcomed by plush leather seats, boardroom tables and chairs, private washrooms complete with tub and shower and even the ability to ferry ones favorite car in the storage below.
Of course all this is understandable – currently it takes hours to get where we want to be. A flight from Vancouver, BC to London, UK is a 7 hour 35 minute journey nonstop and makes a distance of about 7600 km. On a commercial flight a person enjoys a few meals a nap and catches up on emails or their favorite shows. When you have your own jet the trip is a very different experience; first you likely leave from a private airport or section of an airport, giving way to a streamlined boarding and off-boarding process. Once on board you’ll experience more space than some people have in their home and amenities similar to a five star resort.
The question of will we need all this opulence of we’re rocketing into the upper atmosphere and shooting back down again in a matter of minutes. Many of you will of course say ‘Yes of course’ and we’d typically agree however given the likely time restraints there won’t be much time for you to sip champagne, read a book or take a nap on that custom leather sofa. You’ll go up in a harness, float for a bit and strap back in for re-entry.
Perhaps in time the need for harnesses and all that fun stuff will fade but the time spent would likely still be very short, moreover the entire trip duration, takeoff to landing would be cut significantly. Which presents the question of how much opulence can you fit into this small time period? Do we need all that if we’re spending as much time travelling from JFK to LHR as it would take to get in the car and go for ice cream? What will come of the private aviation industry and all that which is attached to it?
Casual Opulence asks the question ‘What will private air [space] travel look like? How opulent will space travel be?’ – we’ve come up with a few ideas.
Once Virgin Galactic and SpaceX have determined that it’s safe for everyone to go up in these devices we suspect it will be similar to getting a flight on the Concord. Space travel won’t extinguish the conventional airplane right away – it will take time. So for those that can afford the opulence of flying from New York to London in under two hours space flight will be a welcome pursuit. Making it possible for would-be millionaires who previously flew first class to now fly ‘space class’ in a fraction of the time eliminating any need for a full bed, bottles of bubbly and a 5 star meal in the air; remember you’ll be weightless for a time as well so the chance of having anything in the cabin is next to none.
Some whom already have their own jets may forgo the comforts of flying private for the speed that travelling via the upper atmosphere provides and leave their jets for personal excursions and private events, where it is fine to enjoy a meal, watch a movie and wake up in Southern France the next morning. There will of course always be those who want their own space plane and have need to come and go on a whims notice and do not wish to wait for the next flight, and that will certainly happen too.
Some time later (if warp travel hasn’t happened yet) it will become more efficient and cost effective to replace all long haul flights with space travel, shooting up and bombing back down in no time at all. Private jets will be replaced by private space-jets in the same fashion they exist today for many wealthy individuals, but will they still line their hulls with lavish materials, haul liters of champagne, and hold board meetings at 35,000 feet?
By this time it is possible that basic air travel as we know it now will become more affordable, or maybe there will just be more wealthy people who can afford it and the private aviation industry will increase significantly, we can’t say for sure yet and only time will tell; and maybe a little nudge from existing industries seeking to keep their grasp on this niche market for a bit longer. Regardless – we are all looking forward to taking our first space flight with the hope that it makes it easier for us to vacation and experience new and wonderful things.