Virgin Atlantic staffers at London’s Heathrow airport are using Google Glass to process first-class passengers as soon as they step out of their limousines.
The Richard Branson airline, known for its forward thinking and early adoption of new technologies, is trying out smart products like Google Glass and Sony’s SmartWatch 2 to improve the travel experience of its customers.
During the six-week trial, concierges at Heathrow’s upper class lounge will be using Google Glass and other smart tech to begin the check-in process as passengers arrive at the airport.
The glasses will allow staff to quickly access flight details for travelers, as well as useful information like weather and local events at their destination. Concierges will also be able to use the glasses to translate relevant foreign language travel notices.
Virgin Atlantic worked with SITA—an information technology company specializing in the air transport industry—to develop a “dispatch app” which drives passenger information directly to the assigned concierge’s Google Glass or Sony SmartWatch.
Presumably the point of the technology is to free up concierges so they can greet passengers as they enter the airport and perform all the required check-in tasks on-the-go. This saves passengers having to walk over to a desk and wait as staff access information from a stationary desktop computer.
It’s unclear how Virgin staff is identifying passengers as they enter the airport – probably with the help of pre-registered limos.
In the future, Virgin Atlantic thinks the technology could be used to recognize their customers’ dietary and refreshment preferences, meaning your vodka and orange could be waiting at your seat before you even board the aircraft.
The Google Glass trial comes on the heels of a study conducted by Virgin Atlantic looking at the future of air travel. The study found that while the number of people traveling by plane has increased dramatically, passengers are less satisfied with their experience.
In another effort to enhance the experiences of customers, Virgin Atlantic announced recently that it plans to launch an in-flight social network, which allows flyers to connect with fellow business travelers at 35,000 feet.
Before taking off passengers download a free iOS app called Here On Biz, which will let them connect with other passengers on their flight and at the travel destination.
The technology will be available on all domestic Virgin America flights by the end of the month, and you can access the app through Virgin American’s Gogo network for free through July 2014.
Image courtesy of Virgin Atlantic