Virgin Atlantic trials Google Glass for Upper Class

The airline is piloting Google Glass with its staff at Heathrow to try and improve customer service

Virgin Atlantic today announced it will be piloting Google glass to see how the wearable technology could improve its customer services.

Staff responsible for Upper Class passengers travelling with the airline will be supplied with the glasses, enabling them to start the check in process and keep people up to date on the latest flight information, weather and local events at their destination.

Google Glass also has a built in translation application, so staff will be able to talk to customers wherever they are from.

The pilot will run for six weeks at Virgin Atlantic’s main UK hub, Heathrow Terminal 3. If successful, the airline will consider a much wider roll-out and develop new services using the technology, such as identifying passengers’ dietary requirements or food and drink preferences, hoping to achieve a more personal service.

Dave Bulman, director of IT at Virgin Atlantic, said: “By being the first in the industry to test how Google Glass and other wearable technology can improve customer experience, we are upholding Virgin Atlantic’s long tradition of shaking things up and putting innovation at the heart of the flying experience.”

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Passengers travelling with Virgin Atlantic are already able to use their mobile phones on board, with access to 3G networks and a Wi-Fi roll-out in progress.

The airline has also recently begun trialling iBeacon, again for its Upper Class passengers at Heathrow. The low-powered Bluetooth transmitter notifies nearby Apple devices of services and discounts available at the airport, as well as updates on their flight boarding schedules. 

“We continue to look ahead and research innovations that customers might only dream of today,” said Bulman. “The whole industry needs to listen to what these passengers are calling for, and keep innovating to bring a return to the golden age of air travel. Flying should be a pleasure not a chore.”

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