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We Will All Fly in the Future

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Even the pets get jetpacks.

One way to establish a setting as occurring in the future is to show everyone — or at least a nontrivial portion of the population — flying about. Whether it is by personal jetpacks, mass transit aircars, or simply letting everyone flit around like birds, the power of flight will be as effortless and casual as walking on the grass. People flying for the shortest and most frivolous reasons will be commonplace, and may even qualify as idle recreation for some.

Might be justified if the characters are in a low- or zero-gravity environment without Artificial Gravity.

Oddly enough, this trope is seldom, if ever, crossed with Big, Fat Future, perhaps because the visual appeal of a flying populace requires future folks who are fully fit.

If a visible means of flight is used, it will often be via Jet Packs, Helicopter Packs, or Flying Cars.

Also see Futuristic Superhighway, I Believe I Can Fly.


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  • Australian company Optus Enterprise has a TV commercial "This is Enterprise Reimagined", showing a future where business people fly around inside and outside an office building.

  • French artist Jean-Marc Côté's "France En L'An 2000 (France in the Year 2000)" — published in the year 1900 — features Slice of Life scenes including flying firefighters, hovering policemen directing air traffic, cannon-firing dirigibles, and postmen in one-man aeroplanes delivering letters to people on their balconies.

    Comic Books 
  • As originally presented, the Legion of Super-Heroes gave everyone in the 30th century flight rings to allow effortless flight. (The rings had other functions such as communication and identifying the wearer as a member, thus making them useful to heroes who could fly under their own power.)

    Comic Strips 
  • In a 1991 strip from The Far Side, what is presumably a comedy club advertises "Appearing Tonight: George Burns". We know it's the far future (hence the joke) in part because there's a bunch of Flying Cars, a (human-piloted) Flying Saucer, and some kind of personal helicopter flitting around in the sky. George Burns was 95 at the time the strip was originally published (but did not, alas, live to see ubiquitous flying cars, as he died at the age of 100 about five years after this strip was originally published).
  • The Perry Bible Fellowship: "Now Showing" is dependent on this trope for its punch line. The first panel has a wildly inaccurate depiction of World War II: an apparently Jewish-British guy (his shield has a combination of the Union Jack and a six-pointed star) is mounted on a zebra and uses a lance to kill Hitler (who is wearing a pickelhaube). Cue end titles, complete with a sailing ship, a biplane, and a mushroom cloud, as everyone leaves the movie theater. We know that the joke is "this is The Future (and their ideas about our recent past will be as distorted as ours are about Ancient Grome)" as opposed to "boy, Hollywood sure does take a lot of artistic license about stuff" because the last panel shows a landscape with multiple flying cars and what appear to be fully functional hoverboards replacing actual walking.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Meet the Robinsons, floating bubbles are used as public transportation.
  • Not quite flying, but all the crew aboard the Axiom in Pixar's WALL•E lives their lives in hoverchairs, which were originally intended for the elderly and infirm. Any humans who need something done for them must summon a robot to do it for them, including exercise.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Back to the Future Part II the then-futuristic year 2015 is portrayed as featuring streams of flying cars and "road" signs that somehow hover in mid-air.
  • The Three Most Important People in the World from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure sit in midair, complete with Midair Bobbing.
  • In Blade Runner, the skies above Los Angeles are teeming with police "spinners", giant airship-things (seemingly used mainly as hovering billboards), and swarms of other flying cars of various types.
  • The Fifth Element has flying cars for everyone.
  • Once The Last Mimzy has returned to the future with a sample of Emma Wilder's DNA, humanity is brought back from the brink of extinction, and the future looks bright as children assemble on a grassy knoll for their school lessons, which last about three minutes. Everyone then floats away like dandelion seeds.
  • Metropolis has a number of shots of biplanes flying between skyscrapers.
  • Not a future, but a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, in the Star Wars series, everyone and their mom owns a flying car, motorcycle, speeder, etc.

  • In the short story "Carrier" by Robert Sheckley, where everyone on Earth has learned to levitate efficiently, and then the protagonist gets infected with a Mind Virus that disrupts his levitation and spreads quickly onto others, so The Government comes after him.
  • In Childhood's End, "the perfection of air transport" in the form of the "ordinary private flyer or aircar" means that everyone in the society of Earth under the rule of the Overlords is "free to go anywhere at a moment's notice".
  • In Damon Knight's novella Dio (or The Dying Man), humans have genetically engineered themselves into gorgeous, model-quality (or better) immortals. Their ability to levitate is a plot point in the first couple of pages when the title character loses this ability (in midair).
  • In Isaac Asimov's short story "For The Birds", a fashion designer is hired to help perfect recreational flight in the low-gravity portion of a space habitat. He eventually realizes that trying to use wings is the wrong approach ; they need a suit with fins and flippers, like a dolphin, in order to "swim" through the air.
  • Found throughout the Foundation Series. In the opening chapters of Foundation (1951), when Gaal Dornick catches a taxi, it immediately lifts "straight up". (Gaal marvels a bit at "the sensation of airflight within an enclosed structure" — this is all happening within the enormous City Planet that is Trantor.) Centuries later, in Second Foundation, Arcadia Darell rides an "air-taxi" on Kalgan.
  • In the Little Fuzzy stories, and the broader "Terrohuman Future History" of which they are a part, the invention of "contragravity" makes this trope universal. Characters routinely fly in aircars, even bulldozers are equipped with contragravity and are thus flying bulldozers, buildings have "landing-stages" on their roofs, and a city on a human-colonized planet is described as being a "streetless contragravity city of a new planet that had never known ground traffic".
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's short story "The Menace From Earth", recreational flying on the Moon — in a huge air-filled cavern, using artificial wings — is a common pastime for the Lunar colonists, and for tourists as well, and forms an important part of the plot.
  • In the "Home Timeline" of the Paratime stories, aircars (including robot aircabs) are ubiquitous and buildings have "landing-stages" on their roofs. (Technically, "Home Timeline" is not actually The Future — it's an alternate universe that happens to include a much more technologically advanced Earth than any of the other near-infinity of alternate Earths, including our own. Presumably any timeline that could manage to not have a nuclear war or otherwise fall into some sort of Dark Age would also wind up with Flying Cars, robots, and Ray Guns.)
  • In Space Cadet (Heinlein), there's a passing reference to the protagonist's kid brother flying the family helicopter.
  • In The Star Beast, teenagers routinely get around in "flight harnesses".
  • In the Time Warp Trio book 2095, personal anti-gravity discs the size of large lapel pins are commonplace, and worth only a few cents (when a slice of pizza is over a hundred dollars).
  • A major part of the setting and premise of the 1979 science fiction novel Vertigo by Bob Shaw involves the ways near-future society have been changed by the invention of a form of anti-gravity that only works for relatively low-mass objects, meaning everyone now flies through the air using anti-gravity backpacks.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga, "groundcars" (implied to be hovercraft) still exist, but aircars, "lightflyers" (fast and sporty aircars), "float-bikes" (flying motorcycles), and "lift vans" are also all in widespread use. One character (after nearly getting in a groundcar accident) asks another character when a major city's "municipal traffic control system" for groundcars is going to be finished, but is told that they're prioritizing the "automated air system" on account of the increase in fatal lightflyer accidents.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A borderline example: in the Bad Future in the third season of Heroes, literally everyone has superpowers after a superpower-granting serum apparently becomes commonplace. Peter only realizes he is in the future by how many people on their normal daily routines started to fly around or teleport, or use superspeed in their business suits, with briefcases.

  • In the futuristic setting of Xenon, everyone flies around just because they can.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Iron Crown Enterprises' Cyberspace RPG has ubiquitous jet packs, though they are usually limited to police, military, and corporate use.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has numerous units with flight capabilities, usually either via a Jet Pack or by flying wings.

    Video Games 
  • Cloudpunk is set in a futuristic city set high above the clouds, where everyone gets around in flying cars.
  • F-Zero: In the distant year of 2560, the pre-eminent sport in the universe is high-speed hovercar racing on tracks suspended hundreds of feet in the air.
  • Required in Shattered Horizon, which takes place entirely in zero gravity.
  • Everyone flies in Tribes, due to ubiquitous nature of jet packs in the series. These are built into every single suit of Powered Armor ever produced, effectively giving every notable character flight capabilities.

  • Schlock Mercenary: Played with. In addition to Flying Cars, any soldier belonging to an even slightly competent military will wear low-profile Powered Armor that looks like regular clothing but is bulletproof, gives Super-Strength, and lets them fly. However, they rarely actually use them to fly, since it's Awesome, but Impractical most of the time.
    Legs: Do you know what we call flying soldiers on the battlefield?
    Tino: Air support?
    Legs: Skeet.

    Western Animation 
  • In Futurama, the wheel has become lost knowledge because all cars have been floating, flying, and/or hovering for so long that wheels are too ancient to remember. They also have tubes that wind through the city of New New York that people hop into and are whisked away in to whatever destination they need to get to. There's also a wide variety of personal flight technology available, such as rocket boots, antigrav belts, and jet packs — pick your poison.
  • In The Jetsons, the predominant forms of movement are either moving walkways or flying around using aircars or jet packs.
  • Most incarnations of Transformers feature numerous flyers. The original idea was that only the Decepticons could fly, but that was quickly dispensed with, and flying characters regularly form a significant number of any faction.