While the modern flyer can now enjoy everything from on-demand entertainment to gourmet meals and generous sleeping arrangements, life in the skies hasn't always been this cozy — or convenient, or fun, or even healthy.
Since the first winged commercial flight in 1914 (a 23-minute open-air voyage across Tampa Bay in a tiny biplane), airlines have been constantly introducing new tweaks and treats that have gradually transformed flying into something an average of more than eight million passengers globally per day not only endure, but might actually enjoy. On this count, Emirates Airline has led the way, earning the distinction of providing some of the most futuristic and luxurious inflight amenities (first-class shower spas and in-flight cell phone use, anyone?) Here's a look at how far the inflight experience has come over the decades:
So what's next in air travel extras? The skies themselves may soon be home to something like airborne luxury hotels, with private suites complete with staff. As Emirates President Tim Clark hinted last year, "It's all about privacy. Our new bedroom concept will take it to the next level."
If we've learned anything from a century of commercial aviation trends, it's that passengers are always ready for whatever that "next level" may be. Are you? Book your next flight with Emirates. Learn more here.
Illustration by Kyle Miller.
Andréa Ford is a freelance journalist covering technology and other topics. She has a specialty in infographics and previously wrote for TIME Magazine.