Would You Fly On This Airplane?

Windowless Plane

If a British aerospace company gets its way, you could one day have a chance to fly in a passenger plane where the windows are replaced by wraparound view screens that show you what’s outside the plane all around you:

A British aerospace company released pictures Sunday of its “windowless” plane concept that would make even the most fearless flyers very nervous. The Centre for Public Innovation (CPI) has an idea to replace those dark and dreary cabins with large, sweeping organic LED screens that could show a live video feed from outside.

The firm envisions the screens encompassing the whole cabin of the plane, except perhaps the floor. Besides showing video from the outside (which could induce vertigo or a baggage of other anxieties for nervous flyers), the screens might display movies, the Internet or even, if you can believe it, nothing.

CPI thinks the idea will take off with manufacturers within the next 10 years as companies look to build lighter jets. Airlines are demanding lighter planes that burn less fuel and save airlines money.

As it happens, those little portal windows are deceptively heavy. The plane’s fuselage needs to be strengthened to keep the windows from snapping in extreme temperatures brought on by the plane’s constantly changing altitude. CPI says that for every 1% reduction in weight, there’s a 0.75% fuel saving — a figure that adds up when tons of windows are removed.

“If you save weight, you save fuel,” CPI claims. “And less fuel means less CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and lower operational cost.”

Here’s a video explaining the concept:

So, who’s up for flying in a plane that makes it appear as if there’s nothing between you and the world outside?

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Science & Technology,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. John Peabody says:

    It’s very dramatic, but no airline would ever operate their screens like this. Airlines have to keep passengers mentally comfortable.

    It’s likely that the windows would be programmed to function nearly as traditional windows, with some fun tweaking possible.

    Also, by rotating the images, or reversing them back and forth randomly, maybe someone can get 240 people to hurl at the same time! Truly, a wondrous age in which we live.

  2. Mikey says:

    I think it’s really cool, and I’d enjoy a flight with that kind of view, but I agree with @John Peabody that the airlines aren’t going to want to risk making the passengers nervous.

    Perhaps they could sell “special” flights that have the true wrap-around experience.

  3. beth says:

    I predict advertising shows up on the windows soon. (Kind of like the changing ads behind home plate in baseball.) The airlines already treat their customers like penned cattle and have shown little regard for our comfort.

    And no, I would never fly on that plane. Flying is scary enough for me.

  4. KM says:


    What little sense of control I manage to hold onto while hurtling through the air faster then gravity and evolution intended us to go in a thin metal tube operated by someone other then myself is depending on me be able to look out the window and lie that since I can see the wings/clouds/outside, I’m not completely at the mercy some random person’s motor and judgment skills. To be fair, I’d never ride in a car like this either, bu there’s something psychologically horrifying about taking away that one little (useless) comfort and giving the airline yet another thing they can control about my experience.

  5. John Burgess says:

    I’d be up for it. It’d be a particular blast flying through thunderstorms.

    Most people I know, though, wouldn’t even consider it.

  6. Liberal Capitalist says:


    Perhaps they could sell “special” flights that have the true wrap-around experience.

    Since it’s a tube with no windows, uncomfortable seats and seatbelts, selling it as a special flight experience would be akin to Disney’s “Mission To Mars” experience.

    Why have it leave the ground at all?

    (…think of the fuel savings! Better get on that Mickey!)

    I agree that having single windows replaced with this tech (while still looking window-ish) would likely work. People like to keep a grip on what they consider reality.

    If you have ever experienced a large scale Cisco Telepresense conference room, this type of full wall OLED screen could work to eliminate the need for that business trip entirely. The experience would be transparent.

    Then how long to the full wall OLED TV in the living room? (Ray Bradbury predicted that and some terrifying interactive challenges in his short story : “The Veldt” http://www.veddma.com/veddma/Veldt.htm )

    However, with the ability to do huge panels and still have energy cost savings, likely this will result in massive building sized advertisement panels, ala “Blade Runner”.

    It’s scary how that film keeps predicting our future. Damn you Philip K. Dick.

  7. Slugger says:

    Is anyone working on an advanced technology that would increase the legroom in the main cabin? That would really be cool!

  8. Hal_10000 says:

    I always love these videos of what the airplane of the future will look like. Airy, plenty of room, comfortable, with lounges and big bathrooms. And then when the plane is actually made, they cram in as many people as they can get away with.

    This airplane will never happen outside of a publicity video.

  9. Kylopod says:

    I personally would love to try out a plane like this. I’m a walking paradox when it comes to height-related things. I’m a person with a lot of anxiety and a couple of real phobias, but I’ve never suffered from acrophobia. I enjoy being in skyscrapers and pressing my nose against the windows, Ferris Bueller-style, to look at the tiny people and cars below. I’ve never found the flights I’ve taken scary; on the contrary, I find takeoff a bit exhilarating, and I like looking out the window while it’s happening.

    But I hate roller coasters, I don’t intend to bungee-jump anytime soon, and as for skydiving–that’s always struck me as the most absolutely petrifying thing a person could do. I can’t believe I’ve had friends who’ve done it, or that George H.W. Bush did it when he turned 90. The idea of just plummeting in open sky…it’s like my personal notion of Hell.

    I also have long suffered from falling dreams, the kind where I’m in some high place like a tree or the top of a steep hill or (in one recent variation) a ridiculously high parking lot, and I’m in great danger of falling a long distance. (I’ve read a lot about the reasons people have dreams like this. I don’t go for any of that pseudo-Freudian BS that’s popular in a lot of the so-called “dream manuals” online and in the self-help section of bookstores. The real explanation is more physiological than psychological: during REM sleep, the parts of our brain governing our sense of movement become activated, creating a sensation of propulsion that is sometimes interpreted by the dreamer as flying, sometimes as falling.) But in my waking life, I’ve always sought out things which simulate a feeling of hurtling through space. The first IMAX I ever attended back in the ’80s did that, where they have these fast aerial shots that make it seem like the whole theater’s moving, and I’ve been disappointed that later IMAXes downplayed this element. All in all, I could definitely see myself trying one of these wraparound flights, even paying extra money for the experience.

  10. al-Ameda says:

    Can you imagine the effect on those passengers who experience vertigo in some degree?

    Some experience vertigo when looking down from to the sidewalk from a 10th floor office, or when on an observation deck at the Space Needle or the Empire State Bldg. I can’t imagine the feeling at 35,000 feet.

  11. Grewgills says:

    I’d love it unless I was trying to sleep. My wife would hate it and would wear a blindfold the entire time.
    It would solve the ”if you’re on the right side of the plane you can look out and see _____” issue.

  12. Franklin says:

    Too lazy to watch the video, but unless those are holographic images, they’ll only actually look correct from one position in the plane.

  13. JohnMcC says:

    I wouldn’t have to wait for Halloween to wear my Superman Costume!

  14. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    I think once I got past the cognitive dissonance, it would be a neat experience. It might even distract me enough so that I might forget about not having enough legroom and needing to walk on the seats of a 757 to get from the center section to the aisle so I can go to the restroom–even when the seats are in the “full, upright position.”

    But Hal wins on the observation that this is a concept, as in concept car, and will probably never make it into production.