Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t the best part of an airplane window seat the window? Whenever I land in an unexplored destination, I open the shade and stare outside, soaking in the miniature landscape below. This travel ritual also involves daydreaming and Instagramming, but it’s my small reward for enduring a long flight.
Emirates Airlines’ Virtual Windows
So when I heard about Emirates Airlines coming out with a new windowless airplane, I was intrigued. The idea is to replace windows with monitors, but they’d still look like windows.
Passengers will be able to enjoy projected views of the world passing by rather than seeing a sea of clouds below.
The real-time fiber-optic camera technology will be used in their first-class cabins, along with floor to ceiling sliding doors and high-tech features.
The technology for fiber-optic cameras in planes could happen in the next decade. The President of Emirates Airlines, Tim Clark, said the quality of images is “so good it’s better than with the natural eye.”
The Benefits of Windowless Airplanes
Some reasons why Emirates want windowless planes is because they’re lighter, faster, and save on fuel because the planes can fly higher.
Another benefit is cost. Simon Calder, the travel editor for The Independent, told CBS New York, it’s actually cheaper to build a plane without any windows. They’re “structurally more coherent and reduce drag.”
The planes would also have wider seating and offer passengers some pretty sweet high-tech entertainment offerings and in-flight services.
The Windowless Naysayers
Airline experts believe it’ll be a long time before windowless airplanes can take flight.
Windows on planes actually serve a purpose. In the event of an emergency, for example, the crew needs to look out the window to see how they can safely evacuate.
These windowless airplanes need to pass regulatory testing and prove it won’t impede passengers’ safety in an emergency, such as evacuation and fire.
Real vs. Virtual Reality Windowless Airplane: Does it matter?
Personally, I’d feel weird about not being able to see the outside world on a windowless airplane.
Even if the windows looked real, I’d somehow feel dissatisfied that the images projected on them weren’t real. But then again, who knows? If I were to snag one of those plush, first-class seats on Emirates, maybe I’d forget all about the windows.
The windowless technology is currently being tested on select flights, but it’s unclear whether this idea will truly take flight.
Would you fly in a windowless airplane?
This article originally appeared on Forbes