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Are Windowless Planes The Future Of Airline Travel?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The view from this Emirates flight may look normal, but its windows are an illusion.

Zach Honig from got to ride in a first class suite situated in the middle of the plane. However, Emirates still wanted those passengers to have a view of the sky, too.

Digital monitors on an Emirates airliner. (Credit: CBS)

The solution was to make a plane with windows that are actually monitors.

"We've demonstrated that with fiber optic cameras relaying the image from the outside, as if you were in the window, the quality of the imagery is so good, it's better than with the natural eye," Tim Clark, the president of Emirates Airline, said.

Clark said the technology opens up the possibility of building airplanes with no windows in the cabin at all.

"The aircraft are lighter. The aircraft could fly faster. They'll burn far less fuel and fly higher," Clark explained to CBS2's Hilary Lane.

British company Centre for Process Innovation is developing a digital wallpaper that could project outside views for passengers.

"We could see windowless planes maybe within 10 years," said Simon Calder, travel editor for The Independent.

Calder said windowless planes could bring down the cost of flying.

"They're cheaper to make," he said. "They are structurally more coherent and they reduce drag."

Concept art of a windowless plane. (Credit: CBS)

The real question now is: will a plane with no windows be embraced by the public?

"I don't know if I like that," flyer Paola Benitez said.

"I think it would be pretty cool," Chris D'Esposito countered.

"That would be a little different, a little odd," another traveler said.

While the windowless technology is making test runs on select flights, it's not yet clear whether the idea will really take off.

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