What follows is DIRECTLY quoted from our email exchange.
First, the short answer from El Husband:
[...] I think semi-rigid heavier-than-air airships may come into use. Super-sonic high-altitude jets will carry the more affluent.
But it's really impossible to say. A century from now is pretty much in the realm of science fiction due to its virtually unlimited potential.
Now, when you say airship, you mean BLIMP right?**
This of course prompted El Husband to give me the LONG answer:
No. Though the layman might call it that. The term "airship" is kind of like "airplane" in that it has a number of very different definitions.
Blimps are specifically non-rigid airships. Giant floating balloons. Like the Goodyear Blimp. Cheap, novel, impractical for anything beyond tourism or advertising.
Rigid airships are like the Hindenburg. Zeppelins. They have metal girder skeletons and have isolated cells of gas. They're designed for heavy-duty long-haul stuff. Basically trans-oceanic passenger hauling.
Semi-rigid airships are a hybrid of the two, incorporating a limited skeleton. However, the types that are in development now (and I find wicked interesting) are actually heavier-than-air but are designed to resemble a chunky flying wing, and use their engines and aerodynamics to overcome their weight and fly like a colossal but very slow airplane. They're faster and can haul a LOT more cargo than rigid airships, and far more fuel efficient than airplanes (plus they can just drop onto a farmer's field and then fly back out again). They may completely revolutionize transportation in developing nations. I think they have more potential than darned near any aircraft ever developed. I hope they go somewhere.
And then. AND THEN. He linked to a video. My friends and followers, this video is amazing. If ever there were a Stay Puft brand of Aviation, this creation, this semi-rigid airship, would be its mascot. It is the reason this post had to be written, because it clearly falls outside of the scope of this blog in every way. But. I could. Not. Stop myself. Just watch. I promise you will not be disappointed.
Now you know. And knowing is, as they say, half the battle.
*For those of you who do not know, El Husband has a deep and abiding love for all things aviation, and in fact received his Bachelor's degree in Airport Management. This also means he's a pilot. My Thing is Writing, El Husband's is Airplanes. Also, apparently, putting two spaces between his sentences.
**Because I am a philistine and an uneducated fool (when it comes to aviation). Though the other day, I correctly guessed that an airplane overhead was a Hercules, thankyouverymuch. Just goes to show that Aviation-stuff can be TAUGHT!