Skift Take

It's been decades since the last "golden age of travel," and we're due for a new one, featuring the Internet of Things.

For many travelers, flying is a mediocre experience at best. Airport security is giving people anxiety, legroom is shrinking, first class is fading, and people hate low-cost carriers and basic economy because they’re uncomfortable — even though so many travelers choose them voluntarily to save money.

So, a simulation of a sleek new cabin with champagne flutes and fresh orchids — followed by promises of removing passenger friction in the airport and on the plane — feels out of reach.

John Barratt, CEO of design consulting firm Teague, was optimistic at Skift Global Forum in New York in September about the future of transportation. Barratt said his company has a 70-year relationship with Boeing and thus a solid base in understanding commercial aviation; Teague even created a concept airline called Poppi to experiment with passenger experience.

“People often reflect back to the ’40s and ’50s and say ‘That was the golden age of travel,’ and what I believe is that we’re on the precipice of a new golden age in travel, and the new golden age is going to be fueled by technology,” said Barratt.

“The types of technologies that we’re using frequently are things like 5G, IoT, and quantum computing,” said Barratt. “Those are very complicated technologies, so what we do at Teague is we prototype everything because it’s a fantastic communication tool.”

Poppi is built on the idea of “love over loyalty,” in an attempt to finally bring some humanity and comfort back to air travel. The prototype airline includes an experiment with branded middle seats, in which those passengers receive products for occupying that least desirable space. On the other hand, Poppi eliminates most carry-on luggage, and many passengers will find that hard to swallow.

Teague is interested in more than just aviation, branching out to other forms of transit that comprise the “new mobility,” as Barratt puts it. Teague is looking at improving the functionality of e-bikes, autonomous vehicles, and even school buses.

You can watch the entire interview above, or consider reading more coverage of Skift Global Forum.

At this year’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, travel leaders from around the world gathered for two days of inspiration, information, and conversation for panels such as this, as well as solo TED-like talks on the future of travel.

Visit our Skift Global Forum site for more details about 2018 events.

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Tags: design, sgf2017, skift global forum, teague, video

Photo credit: John Barratt, CEO of design consulting firm Teague, is trying to remove the friction from various forms of transportation. Skift

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