A nice article in New Scientist.
Scramjets promise space travel for all - space - 22 July 2009 - New Scientist
Many people have dreamed of reaching space using the equivalent of a Boeing 747 to fly passengers up. Of course, even reaching low orbit would allow such a vehicle to carry people vast distances around the world very quickly. London to Sydney in 4 hours, perhaps.
Obviously, standard jet engines will not do it. Even a ramjet cannot do it. However, a supersonic ramjet (scramjet) combined with rocket boosters might do the job. It appears from the article that the technology to permit this is not too far away. So far, the fastest scramjet flight was Mach 10, where Mach 25 is needed. However, this technology is growing rapidly, and the new generation engines, combined with the rocket booster may do it.
Perhaps, in our own lifetimes, we may be able to buy a ticket on a space plane and fly into orbit. Take off from a standard airfield, and land in another airfield half way round the world. Much cheaper than the brute force rocket approach currently used by NASA.
Personally, I would buy a ticket just to experience space!