High-Tech Changes That Will Revolutionize Flying

Better bins, lighting and "dimming" windows should make travel more enjoyable.

ByABC News
November 18, 2008, 12:10 PM

May 13, 2009 — -- You're on the plane, and your choice of movies is "Bride Wars" or "Mall Cop." You figure perusing the SkyMall catalog will be more entertaining, so you fumble for the light switch, and next thing you know, an angry flight attendant is looming over you, demanding to know what the problem is.


You hit the wrong button. Again. But the good news is, that probably won't happen in the new Boeing 737.

I know. I took a tour of the redesigned cabin – and they've got lots of cool innovations that I'm going to tell you about. But I'm also going to offer up some of the innovations we'd really like to see.

Hydraulic drink carts, anyone? But I'm getting ahead of myself.

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Yes, Boeing has redesigned its reading-light switches – so passengers can find them more easily (and quit bothering the flight attendants). But that's the least of it.

The innovation everyone's talking about concerns the overhead bins – they're bigger, but more importantly, higher. They pivot out, so you can stow your stuff – and more of your stuff, too – then, when the bins are shut and pushed in place, voila! You can stand up at your seat, and not hit your head. Sometimes, on a plane, a standing stretch is priceless.

The bins aren't exactly new, though – some of you will remember when pivot-bins were introduced on the 777's some 15 years ago. And the LED lighting onboard the redesigned Boeing cabin isn't exactly a breakthrough either – Richard Branson's been touting the famous "mood lighting" on Virgin American planes since the airline took to the skies. But hey, the more the merrier.