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Wearable technology to serve Virgin Atlantic passengers

SITA_Virgin Atlantic Google Glass_1

SITA tailors devices for British airline’s concierges for six-week pilot programme

February 12, 2014 6:24 by

The concierge staff of Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Wing in London’s Heathrow Airport will be using wearable technology to serve passengers, the airline announced yesterday.

Google Glass (a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display) and Sony Smartwatch (a gadget that connects to Android smartphones) are being introduced by Virgin Atlantic to “enhance the travelling experience of passengers” in a six-week pilot, according to the British airline.

Airtransport IT firm,SITA, says it has tested how wearable technology can be best used to improve customers’ experiences and improve efficiency for Virgin Atlantic. The wearable technology is integrated to both a purpose-built dispatch app built by SITA and the Virgin Atlantic passenger service system. The dispatch app manages all task allocation and concierge availability. It pushes individual passenger information directly to the assigned concierge’s smart glasses or watch just as the passenger arrives at the Upper Class Wing.

The pilot will also test weaknesses and strengths of the technology ahead of a potential wider roll out in the future.“In the future, the technology could also tell Virgin Atlantic staff the passengers’ dietary and refreshment preferences – anything that provides a better and more personalised service,” said the statement.

“The fact that air travel has become more accessible has led to some of the sheen being lost for many passengers. Our wearable technology pilot with SITA makes us the first in the industry to test how Google Glass and other devices can improve the customer experience,”says Dave Bulman, director of IT at Virgin Atlantic.

Market analysis firm Canalys predicts that five million Smartwatch units will be shipped worldwide in 2014, which will be approximately ten times the 500,000 distributed last year.

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