The Future of Air Travel

Anyone remember air travel? In early 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe and international flights were hurriedly cancelled, the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Laboratory for Design Technologies (LDT) pivoted its three-year focus project, The Future of Air Travel, to respond to new industry conditions in a rapidly changing world. With the broad goal of better understanding how design technologies can improve the way we live, the project aims to reimagine air travel for the future, recapturing some of its early promise (and even glamour) by assessing and addressing various pressure points resulting from the pandemic as well as more long-term challenges.

The two participating research labs—the Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab (REAL), led by Allen Sayegh, associate professor in practice of architectural technology, and the Geometry Lab, led by Andrew Witt, associate professor in practice of architecture—“look at air travel from an experiential and a systemic perspective.” As part of their research, the labs consulted with representatives from Boeing, Clark Construction, Perkins & Will, gmp, and the Massachusetts Port Authority, all members of the GSD’s Industry Advisors Group.

So far, the project has resulted in two research books: the Atlas of Urban Air Mobility and On Flying: The Toolkit of Tactics that Guide Passenger Perception (and its accompanying website 

Read the full article from Mark Hooper at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design website:

Visit the Air Travel Design Guide for more information about research conducted by REAL:

On Flying Cover        Atlas of Urban Air Mobility Cover