Virgin Atlantic Turns to Wearable Tech for Enhanced Service

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class passengers became the first air travelers to benefit from wearable technology while flying into London Heathrow airport this week. Concierge staff has begun using Google Glass and the Sony Smartwatch to give a more personal customer service experience by greeting travelers by name and keeping them updated on their flight status. Down the line, wearable tech may even be used to track travelers’ food and beverage preferences.

According to air transport IT specialist SITA’s website, the company is collaborating with Virgin Atlantic to test just how wearable technology can be used to improve customer service while traveling. It’s in a test period, during which time the the pros and cons for customers and both businesses “will be evaluated ahead of a potential wider roll-out in the future.”

Staff on the airline are given either the Glass or Smartwatch device, “which is integrated to both a purpose-built dispatch app built by SITA and the Virgin Atlantic passenger service system.” That dispatch app manages tasks and directs passenger information straight to the staff’s wearables as each passenger arrives.

“Virgin Atlantic’s newly enhanced mobile site means passengers will be able to book flights, check in online and check their flight status on the move, while also having access to the vast range of information on the main website, including destination and airport guides as well as details of baggage allowances and much more,” explains SITA’s blog post.

Virgin Atlantic has worked with SITA before. The duo has tested iBeacon on Upper Class passengers at Heathrow, using the Bluetooth transmitter to notify nearby iPhones and iPads of the airline’s services, discounts and schedule updates.