Recently a British company called Centre for Process Innovation released a report proclaiming that we will see windowless planes within 10 years. With the windows being replaced by OLED screens which amongst other settings, could mirror the outside of the plane to make it look see-through.
While the rendering images and subsequently released video look kind of cool, the cost to implement OLED screens into existing planes would be astronomical. Not to mention requirements around power would need to be considered as well as lifespan of an OLED panel which currently is estimated to only be a few short years (based on current OLED high-end televisions).
Would OLED panels look cool? Yes. Would they freak out already nervous flyers if they’re giving the appearance of a see-through plane? Yes. Would they reduce weight? Yes.
We can all dream, but how many times have you flown on a plane to see old remnants of yesteryear with ashtray fittings from a time where you were allowed to smoke on a plane? I have a few times. This is proof enough that the airline industry are not quick to jump on new tech, look at how long it has taken to get in-flight wifi? And even still, it is not greatly supported.
It is also worth pointing out that a windowless plane is not a new idea. Cargo planes do not have windows to save on weight and Airbus have a patent on windowless cockpits. Pilots of the expensive F–35 fighter jet have Oculus Rift style headsets that allow them to see beneath and around the jet as they fly.
So do not expect any major airline to entertain the idea of a windowless plane for potentially 20 to 30 years, not 10. The airline industry does not move as fast as CPI seems to think it does.
Lets hope when they say windowless, they mean the panels are powered by Linux, not Windows…
— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) October 27, 2014