Windowless planes, a promising innovation?

Emirates is building a plane without windows. Let’s see why.

Monitors will show passengers in first class projected views of the world passing by.

There is no need to illustrate the advantages of windows. Even though you’re not claustrophobic, watching the skies and the landscape through the window offers you quite a relief when you’re confined in a small place like an airplane.

Emirates 1st class cabin
Emirates 1st class cabin

Moreover, in case of an emergency, airline staff can watch what’s outside to determinate whether it’s safe to let passengers out or not. If you are to project the view outside through a video camera, images can be damaged by severe turbulence. Because of that, experts say it’s going to be a while before Emirates’ plan gets through regulatory testing.

The advantages of a windowless plane

They are mostly economic. Drag is increased by the windows, not because polycarbonate drags more than aluminum, but because the borders off the windows create much more drag than a smooth aluminum surface. Moreover, building windows in the cabin is costly. So an airline would spare considerably by a equipping its planes with cameras that project what can be seen outside on monitors, both when purchasing its planes and when operating them. They would have faster and lighter planes, getting a better fuel economy.

Boeing 747 passenger to freighter conversion featuring aluminum window plugs.
Boeing 747 passenger to freighter conversion featuring aluminum window plugs. Photo credit Flickr


In the end, even passenger will get an advantage from the windowless plane, since it will offer wider seating and enhanced high-tech entertainment, thanks to larger monitors. Would you like to find out? Just book a Emirates’ flight, first class.