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Innovation: Today’s Time Tunnel

For one storied season just 40 short summers ago, a sci-fi show called “The Time Tunnel” held sway on ABC-TV. Created by “Poseidon Adventure” film and TV producer Irwin Allen, the aforementioned Time Tunnel was a secret government machine (naturally!) for traveling back in time. Only problem was, each week the show’s characters — including star James Darren — were lost in time. (Unfortunately for our intrepid heroes, they never quite made it back to their government laboratory before the show was cancelled.)

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Lost in time is how some travelers on the “World’s Longest Passenger Flights” must feel flying from, say, Singapore to Newark, N.J. Today’s version of yesteryear’s futurist time tunnel is the long-range commercial jet. “Long range” today is really really long, with that Singapore-to-Newark nonstop flight clocking in at nearly 19 hours.

Talk about bending space and time!

I predict that more-frequent flights of that duration will give a whole new meaning to the term “cabin fever.” Yes, time travel air travel will only become more the norm as airlines snap up more of Boeing’s ultra-long-range Dreamliner 787s, 677 of which had been ordered at last count.

As Forbes magazine writer Lauren Kerensky explains, “These flights are becoming more common in part because liners are capable of performing long-haul journeys without refueling due to a larger fuel capacity.”

As her article also points out, the longer the planes stay aloft, the more fuel they have to load and thus the fewer fliers they are able to carry.

So time travel of this sort, while technologically feasible, is truly a tradeoff, because when airlines sacrifice passengers (or cargo) for fuel, they have to make up the cost difference by tunneling into somebody’s pocketbook.

I betcha that’s one tunnel James Darren never had to worry about.

Airline Futurist • Miami • www.amadeus.com

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