Over the past few years, air travel has become an arguable nightmare. Between cramped seats, terrible food, weird smells, and all those extra fees that always surprise you, flying is hardly something to look forward to.
This is a shame because air travel is often the first step to starting off a vacation you’ve been saving money and sick days for, and to have this first step marred by a rude flight attendant or the constant banging of the bathroom door often feels unacceptable.
Enter, the Airlander 10! A return to the glory days of American aviation. A nod to luxury in the skies. A beacon of hope for the future of flying.
The Airliner 10, designed and manufactured by British company Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), is a diesel-powered, helium airship that is the largest aircraft flying today. It has been in development for years and in 2016, HAV started their first test flights.
This admittedly did not have the best results, with the airship going nose-first into the grass on its second flight. But while HAV works on making sure the Airlander stays up in the sky, they recently released images of their interiors — and these will have you forgetting about any possible crashes.
“We often like to think about Airlander as a cruise liner in the sky,” Tom Grundy, executive director of Hybrid Air Vehicles, said of this aircraft that boasts the pampered experience of a long-haul cruise with smoothness of air travel — complete with private bedrooms, communal lounge areas, multiple bars, and high-end dining options (options!).
Also a point to note, the blimp looks a bit like a butt and to their credit, the makers have dubbed the aircraft the Flying Bum!
Unlike your run-of-the-mill private jet, the Airlander 10 is extremely spacious, with a 46-foot-long cabin area (bigger than most commercial airplanes), and a modular design that ingeniously can be customized depending on the journey. Traveling with your whole family and need some alone time to escape? The Airlander 10 can be configured to have private bedrooms.
Traveling with friends and want to make it more of a party-ship? Configure the interiors to create an “Infinity Lounge” while you hang out around the Altitude Bar and get your drink on.
But the real standout features, in my opinion, are the floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as the glass-bottomed floor. Pictures of the main cabin show it's virtually covered in glass, providing guests with insane views of the topography below and the skyscape from up to 20,000 feet in the air.
The views seem pretty unavoidable so if heights aren’t your thing, you might want to reconsider before booking a ticket on the Airlander’s maiden voyage.
The second notable feature is the fact that the Airlander 10 can take off and land on practically any flat surface, regardless of the terrain. This means the Airlander can bypass tarmac-to-tarmac journeys, going straight to natural attractions like the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon rainforest and the Arctic Tundra — and with its eco-friendly focus, it sounds like a responsible way to enjoy these natural wonders without foregoing everyday luxuries.
Imagine looking down at the craters of the Grand Canyon through those glass floors. Wow!
As mentioned before, the Airlander 10 is still being tested and it could be a while before it completes the necessary 200 incident-free hours of flying. There’s also no mention of pricing, but it’s probably safe to assume tickets will not be cheap. But these are minor setbacks for unequalled luxury in the sky.
I know I'll be getting on that waitlist.