In focus: Flight month

What will the future of flight look like? What innovations are around the corner? And how will new technologies in air and space travel impact the way we do business? Please fasten your seat belts, flight month is taking off…

Throughout this month we will be shining a light on commercial air travel, flight innovations that will define our age, the impact of the airline industry on wider society, the increased use of drones across many sectors, how our increasingly connected world has enabled business to grow wings and a whole lot more.

Let us know your thoughts on the future of flight below. Alternatively, check out some of our previous In focus series…

Stories from the sky 

Being Cabin Crew for Virgin Atlantic has to be one of the greatest jobs in the world. They get to travel the world, experience some of the most exotic and exciting places and they get paid for the privilege. To find out more about what life is really like for Cabin Crew, we caught up with some of the staff to hear their best stories from the sky.

Meet the students transforming flying

Aircraft of the future could be more energy efficient, thanks to a team of students from India who have developed technology that could harvest energy from the natural vibrations in a plane's wings.

Is helicopter the commuter transport of the future?

What cuts through traffic jams, avoids rush hour, doesn’t need a runway, and delivers you right to your door? The humble helicopter of course, beloved transportation method of oligarchs and billionaires is perpetually useful in a busy city.

How to make running a business across different countries work

The idea of having work colleagues thousands of miles away might be appealing, what about when you’re trying to run a business with them?

How does flight shape the actions of entrepreneurs?

Legend has it that Icarus made a pair of wings from feathers and wax, flying over the deep sea to escape the Labyrinth in Crete. Ecstatic with the ability to fly he reached too close to the burning sun, ignoring his father's warning...

Video: The return of the jetpack

Flight Month goes solo as we follow the amazing exploits of Jetman Yves Rossy and his protégé Vince Reffet as they explore the skies of Dubai…

How has inflight entertainment developed over time?

The first ever commercial flight took place in 1914 and lasted a grand total of 23 minutes, as Tony Jannus piloted a Benoist flying boat across the bay from St Petersburg to Tampa, Florida, with Abram C Pheil, the former Mayor of St Petersburg on board. Unsurprisingly, this flight looked very different to what we experience now when we get onboard a plane, but one of the biggest changes since early commercial flights is in the entertainment we can now experience while flying…

Is helicopter the commuter transport of the future?

What cuts through traffic jams, avoids rush hour, doesn’t need a runway, and delivers you right to your door? The humble helicopter of course, beloved transportation method of oligarchs and billionaires is perpetually useful in a busy city.

How to master long flights

I have witnessed our planet from hundreds of aeroplane windows. I've crossed the seven continents, seen the most epic sunsets and spent hours and hours in the sky. All of that ‘air-time’ has given me some insight into how to make the most of long flights...

Image from Nasa

The changing shapes of planes of the future

Planes have been roughly the same shape since the first scheduled commercial flights in the early 20th century: nose, wings, and fin. It’s working, so why change it? But that was until fuel costs changed, space for roomy runways reduced, and concerns about air-pollution grew...

How to beat jet lag

Jet lag is the bane of modern travel, and anyone who’s suffered from it more than a few times will have their own personal method for trying to avoid it. Unsurprisingly, there’s no golden bullet for avoiding jet lag altogether. However, there are several things you can do to decrease its impact on your trip...

How passengers are benefiting from innovations in aviation

Airlines have introduced significant innovations over the years, which don't just make flying a better experience for the customer but inspire other business sectors across the globe. But what innovations stand out and how have they improved the experience of passengers?

Start-ups go global as business travel continues to rise

The age of faster, more affordable air travel has made the world a smaller place. Journeys to the other side of the world that once took several days – I can still recall an arduous three-day flight on a Boeing 707 to Australia in 1967 - can now be completed in less than one.

How has technology changed planes?

Technology is changing fast – so fast that devices that were once considered the height of sophistication just 10 years ago are now obsolete. But how is that affecting the airline industry? We caught up with Jeremy Brown, a senior designer in customer experience at Virgin Atlantic to find out…

How to overcome a fear of flying

For many, air travel is an enjoyable experience, a WiFi free retreat and the opportunity to catch-up on sleep or some new cinema releases. For others, however, the mere thought of it results in sweaty palms and an impending sense of dread. We spoke to clinical psychologist Elaine Iljon Foreman to find out more about why people develop a fear of flying and what can be done to overcome it…

The future of airship travel

There must be few people out there who don’t find the thought of floating through the sky in an enormous balloon a thrilling proposition. Bonus points if it’s attached by a tether to the top of the Empire State Building. But the airship could be making a mainstream comeback...

Are plane cabins about to get quieter?

Researchers have come up with a new rubber membrane that could make plane cabins significantly quieter.

The evolution of airline food

Airline food has certainly come a long way over the years. Gone are the days of serving standard potato based meals in foil. As part of its transformation to a premium contemporary full service airline, Virgin Australia has brushed away the stigma to reveal restaurant quality meals in the sky, thanks to its partnership with internationally renowned chef Luke Mangan...

Are there any industries that drones won't disrupt?

Drones were established last Christmas among the season’s most coveted gifts, scrawled onto the wishlists of thousands eager to take flight with these seemingly must-have devices...

How do you design an aeroplane?

Aeroplane designs have changed a lot since the first passenger planes took off, with innovations in seating and use of space completely transforming what cabins look like. To find out more, we caught up with industrial designer Adam Wells, who worked on the redesign of Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class suite in 2003...

What is it like to be a Virgin Balloon Flights pilot?

Flying isn't all about aeroplanes, so to celebrate another type of flying for Flight Month we caught up with Mark Shemilt, a pilot at Virgin Balloon Flights to find out more about ballooning...

How business ideas can grow wings on a flight

Before you dismiss that chap next to you on the endless flight to Johannesburg as the most boring person you have never met, think twice. You could be sitting next to your future business partner… 

Richard Branson's five rules of aviation

The Virgin Group founder recently shared the five most important lessons he’s picked up during his time in the airline industry. So if you’re looking to start up in the skies, you might want to focus on these key areas...

Crowdfunding for the world's largest aircraft

Everything about Airlander is big and about superlatives – even the Guinness World Records are talking to us about having our own category. In raising finance for the world’s largest aircraft, launching the UK’s largest manufacturing sector via crowdfunding seemed like an obvious route...

What will runways of the future look like?

Runways are newsworthy at the moment: they require large amounts of flat ground in a world where land is at a premium. Few people want new runways next to their houses, but everybody craves the convenience of air travel…

Richard Branson: Treat people who don’t get jobs as well as people who do

The Virgin Group founder reveals what happens when you apply for a job at Virgin Atlantic... but don't get the role you want. It just goes to show, the airline industry is like no other, for quite a few reasons that you might not expect!

What impact has air travel had on other industries?

A revolution in commercial flight has brought cheaper, faster travel to an increasingly diverse choice of destinations. Good news for travel fans; maybe even better news for other business sectors that have benefited from the new opportunities created by a boom in air travel, many of them seized by tech entrepreneurs.

Mentor Mondays - George Whitesides

Today we have a special Flight month addition of Mentor Mondays, as we sit down with Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides to find our what qualities he thinks are required to make it in the air and space industries.

Richard Branson: How a seven-year-old went from £1 Concorde offer to pilot

In the 1980s the UK government sold Concorde to British Airways for £1, stating that if another British company ever wanted to operate the fleet it could do so for the same fee....

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