Sep 2, 2016 | By Alec

What’s the deal with airplane food? While notoriously unappetizing, the reputation of food served during long flights could radically change in the near future. At least, that’s what travel provider Expedia believes. In a new report about the future of travel, they explored the impact that digital technologies will have on travel in general and vacations in particular. And the results are appealing: innovations such as virtual and augmented reality goggles will revolutionize the way we experience flights and choose holiday destinations, while even the food we eat during the flight could be customizable thanks to 3D printing.

This new report is entitled "The Holiday of the Future Report", and has just been released by Expedia – one of the largest online travel companies in the world. Founded back in 1998, the British company serves millions of travelers every year, which has helped them to lay out a very clear view of what is driving booking decisions, which in turn has led them to conclude that the ‘Holiday of the Future’ will be one that is absolutely packed with luxury and technology.

The picture they paint of future travel is certainly appealing. “It’s the year 2035 and you’re sitting on-board a pilotless airliner, cruising across the Atlantic at a cool 3,000mph. The trolley service is a robot named Brenda – she speaks 100+ different languages and offers you an eclectic platter of food based on the dietary requirements in your electronic implant. Content with your 3D printed salad, you put your virtual reality headset back on and go for a pleasant coastal stroll across Ipanema beach,” they say in their report.

While it sounds almost too good to be true, the travel provider further argued that today’s technological trends certainly point to such a future – when customization and personal choices will be more important than ever. “The next big thing in travel will be a more personal and predictive consumer experience driven by data and insights. We've built an enormous network of nodes that we call the Travel Graph to identify patterns that can drastically improve the online travel experience,” says Expedia’s Gary Morrison.

In particular, they are seeing plenty of opportunities for virtual reality headsets – both during travel and during the selection of your travel destination. In fact, different types of media are already dictating our vacation plans as “42% of Millennials in the UK agree that holiday photos posted by social media contacts influence their choice of destination. The same report also explains that 60% of the same audience describe experiencing the authentic culture of a country the most important factor in travelling,” Expedia’s experts argued.

The rise of VR goggles, such as the Oculus Rift and even more affordable setups like the Google Cardboard, can drive that trend even further. We will be able to experience our vacations before actually stepping foot on a plane, making it easier to see what destination is most appealing. “Virtual reality has the potential to radically change travel. People can 'try before they buy' by visiting locations in VR, from the UAE to the Irish Wild Atlantic Way,” says Rachael Power of Virtual Reality News.

While Expedia expects that a very wide range of other technologies will be integrated into the travel experience (including self-flying aircraft), the most eye-catching in that list is definitely food 3D printing. Expedia believes that even organic, custom 3D printed meals fully suited for any dietary requirement can be provided during future flights as well.

Of course airplane food is often criticized, so meals that can be completely customized for each and every passenger is the best possible solution. “Emulating the golden age of travel, experts expect more variety in gourmet flight food, with the likelihood of indigenous and culture-focused cuisine becoming incorporated into the ‘authentic’ customer journey. This could also mean passengers designing their own menu, pre-flight,” they say in the report.

If successful, it would obviously be a huge achievement. It also shouldn’t be impossible, as more complex and portable food 3D printers are being developed at a rapid pace. Just look at the Focus 3D printer by Dutch innovators byFlow, which was used to serve nine-course 3D printed dinner in London earlier this summer. The real challenge, however, will be in efficiently transporting enough hardware and food supplies to make true customization possible. The logistical challenges will certainly be immense, while the 3D printing speed will also need to be increased to make this viable. Nonetheless, the very fact that food 3D printing is on the Expedia radar speaks volumes, so who knows?



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Anonymous wrote at 9/16/2016 9:07:52 PM:

useful for my research project! ;)

mick wrote at 9/2/2016 6:42:03 PM:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive