The airport and airline industries continue to evolve with new technologies and changing passenger expectations. Fast forwarding from 2024 to 2025, futurist keynote speakers and expert consultants point to five trends and developments that promise to reshape the travel experience.

Contactless Journeys Gain Traction

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated demand for “no-touch” airport and inflight interactions. Futurist consulting pros and innovation experts believe heightened health and safety concerns will drive rapid adoption of contactless self-service technologies over the next two years. Cutting-edge options like biometric boarding gates, touchless lavatories, immersive info displays, voice-enabled entertainment systems, digital meal ordering and even hologram airline agents promise to minimize shared surfaces and face-to-face staff interactions.

Sustainability Soars as Priority

Commercial aviation faces growing pressure to curb its carbon emissions as climate change concerns mount. Circa 2025, innovation consultants foresee airlines exploring emerging technologies like electric and hydrogen propulsion systems, sustainable aviation fuels and lighter aircraft materials to progressively decarbonize. Meanwhile, airports are setting bold net-zero targets and reimagining infrastructure around renewable energy, reduced water usage and eco-friendly construction principles.

Smart Airports Leverage Big Data

Major airports are ramping up “smart” capabilities powered by IoT sensors, artificial intelligence and cloud-based data platforms. Over the next two years, real-time processing of passenger flow, baggage tracking, parking availability and aircraft movement data will enable more automated airport operations and efficient travel experiences. Flight disruptions may be predicted and resolved faster than ever. The fleets of robots roaming terminals to clean, survey, serve and guide travelers will likely expand as well.

Personalization Takes Off

Innovation consultants foresee airlines getting much smarter at tailoring services to loyalty program members’ preferences – from customized in-flight menus, to individualized engagement through apps and personalized offerings of upgrades or itinerary options. Some carriers may also grant elite flyers access to exclusive airport lounges or other premium perks. Maintaining competitive personalization capabilities while respecting customers’ data privacy will require a balancing act, though.

Private and Autonomous Flight Matures

As of 2025, innovation experts suggest private “flying taxi” services could establish substantial footing, especially for regional routes ignoring major hubs. Autonomous aircraft may follow soon after thanks to rapid improvements in AI piloting software. Over the long term, such technologies promise travelers faster direct journeys and fewer traffic bottlenecks into major airports. But aviation regulators still need to hammer out pending safety, air traffic management and infrastructure hurdles before this Jetsons-like future officially takes off.