While Emirates was showing off its triple seven's ability to provide crystal-clear viewing from virtual windows, it mentioned: "that could be a step to windowless aircrafts", and I felt like it meant to evolve into something better.

So, my question is, what would be better in general, a windowless aircraft or one with windows? Is there any improvement that comes with a windowless Airbus for example?


marked as duplicate by ymb1, Community Jun 20 '18 at 7:45

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • $\begingroup$ Would be great to have one post to cover all scenarios though, and link to them for further link, maybe..@ymb1 thanks! $\endgroup$ – gsamaras Jun 20 '18 at 7:44
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    $\begingroup$ I'd argue that this isn't a duplicate question; the linked question is asking specifically about the drag factor and has answers explaining only that. This question is asking for an all-round view of other factors - passenger comfort, cost, etc. $\endgroup$ – Cooper Jun 20 '18 at 10:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Cooper - Note that "Community ♦" means the asker voted to close, which means their issue was resolved. "Passenger comfort, cost, etc.," is too broad and wasn't requested -- however feel free to ask a question targeting things other than drag and weight (note: drag and weight influence cost). $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Jun 21 '18 at 5:26

As far as I know, a windowless aircraft made with the right materials would be better than one with windows since in current airliners are weaker than the rest of the fuselage. With uniformity in the fuselage, the chances of weak points would be less.

From a structural point of view, windowless > windowed aircraft.

This is as much as I can say since my knowledge on the subject is limited.

  • $\begingroup$ Good point, though all this technology of video streaming would be an overhead, but maybe negligible.. $\endgroup$ – gsamaras Jun 20 '18 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ Video streaming is a potential workaround to finding a material/ set of materials that would work as the main material of the fuselage while also being transparent enough to see out of clearly. I'd wager that video streaming will be the way to go for windowless aircraft at least for the next few years until they find a suitable replacement for the fuselage material. Airbus does have a windowless concept as seen here: arabianbusiness.com/… $\endgroup$ – ironduke97 Jun 20 '18 at 7:15
  • $\begingroup$ theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-43290,00.html This is actually a good discussion that relates to your question. $\endgroup$ – ironduke97 Jun 20 '18 at 7:18

There are two big advantages to windowless aircraft:

  1. Cost
  2. Design complexity/structure

Cost is a fairly obvious one; the plexiglass used for aeroplane windows is not expensive, but designing around it increases costs all the way from conception to manufacture of an airliner. Plus the airline needs to think about blinds/curtains, seat placement, and the extra processes involved in cleaning all the windows on the aircraft regularly - inside and out.

To the second point: design. Not only do windows complicate the design of an aircraft (thus increasing the cost) but they're also structural weak points. An aerospace engineer would like nothing more than a simple tubular fuselage without these vulnerable stress points (aircraft windows are round rather than rectangular to reduce these).

Here's an interesting example of a windowless concept aircraft: the Reaction Engines A2. This hypersonic aircraft flies so high and so fast that the stresses and heat on the fuselage are simply too much for big windows to handle. Any windows would have to be tiny (like on Concorde) - so they're simply left out.

So to sum up: windowless aircraft certainly an option for future superfast and high-altitude air travel, but for today's commercial airliners the only point would be a slight saving in cost. Whether the idea of a windowless airliner would affect passenger number is unknown, but I imagine a lot of people would be uncomfortable with the idea.

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    $\begingroup$ I miss the Concorde. Or maybe I miss that there is no successor to it. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – gsamaras Jun 20 '18 at 7:57

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