Samantha Chigwedere | First Place

Loreto Secondary School, Bray

Does the future of air travel lie in our past? This generation is all about revisiting ideas and making comebacks; look at scrunchies, mom jeans and the Jonas Brothers! I’m sure the question we all want the answer to is what could the future of air travel look like?’. Scientists are considering reviving something that will make the journey just as enjoyable- if not more- than the destination. Let’s take a moment to visualise it: All the space to stretch your legs, comfortable beds, dining rooms and, most importantly, GOOD FOOD! This was a reality in the 1930s. Ok, but if they were so amazing, why aren’t we using them now? The Hindenburg disaster of 1937. That’s why.

This blimp’s crashing not only killed 36 passengers but it caused people to lose their trust in airships. This was the perfect timing for aeroplanes to steal the spotlight. But let’s be honest, that was nearly 100 years ago! Since then, we have developed smartphones, hoverboards, prosthetic limbs and electric cars. Now, imagine all the groundbreaking things we could do to modernise the airship design with all the information and technology we have today!? I don’t know about you, but maybe I think we’re fortunate to be alive in the 21st century. As we all know, planes are one of the most significant pollutants to the environment. Since their emissions are released so high in the atmosphere, their pollution is a complete ad that will warm the globe for several centuries. They also use a lot of unclean fossil fuels to get up in the air. The only way to be truly sustainable is not to fly at all. I know, I know, I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes too. Of course, this is an impossible standard. We’ve got jobs to do, places to see, products to acquire, dreams to fulfil. Airships are the only way to do all this and do it greener. Using airships is so much better for the environment.

Like Carl Frederickson from the movie ‘Up’ set out to travel from one place to another in the comfort of his home using balloon power, so can we. Air balloons have minimal impact on the environment. No energy is needed to get them off the ground, and the fuel propane is used, which is much cleaner than butane and petrol used for planes and helicopters. On top of all this, airships fly low enough to see the beautiful world below. That’s right, and you could fly over theAmazon rainforest, Grand Canyon or even be awestruck by African wildlife – all without disturbing the environment. Of course, nothing is 100% perfect. These ships will be pretty pricey initially- just like all new inventions and technology. Still, after the experience, time and development, you’ll be able to afford and access them with ease.

Furthermore, airships will be far cheaper than aeroplanes in the long run. They also happen to be five times slower than aeroplanes but honestly, who wants an experience as awe-inspiring and luxurious as this to be rushed? Just imagine it, swimming in the sky! So, have I convinced you? Does the future of air travel lie in our past? I mean, after being locked up like Rapunzel for over a year, I say it’s about time we have our cake and eat it too, and I have it on good authority; that cake is really good at an airship’s cruising altitude!