December 04, 2015
United States Patent and Trademark Office

If you've ever dreamed of a flying experience that doesn't include the dreaded rigmarole of boarding and deplaning, this new airplane design from Airbus is the kind of thing dreams are made of. Instead of waiting for the entire flight full of passengers to file in and take their seats, a detachable cabin would make it possible for the aircraft to board a plane full of people in one go. The process would be more like an assembly line than anything, with a newly landed airplane dropping off its cabin and picking another full of new passengers in a matter of minutes.

It sounds great in theory, but the patent—which was just granted last week—would require special loading docks to actually attach the cabins to the airplanes—meaning there'd be quite a cost to airports and airlines. It's not all gold for the flyers, either: passengers looking to stay on the arriving plane for a later destination might have an issue keeping their seat—questions for another day, given this project's patent status.

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.