Virgin Atlantic set to commence Google Glass pilot scheme

As part of its efforts to improve customer service, Virgin Atlantic is set to launch a Google Glass and wearable technology pilot among its Upper Class staff, according to a report by The Telegraph.

In an industry first, concierge staff in the airline’s Upper Class Wing, which serves business class passengers, will be using Google Glass and other wearable technology to start the check-in process. The pilot scheme is expected to run for six weeks.

Google Glass is intended to help staff to update passengers on their latest flight information, weather and local events at their destination, and translate any foreign language information. The new technology is also intended to advise airline staff of their passengers’ dietary and refreshment preferences in the future.

Dave Bulman, director of IT, Virgin Atlantic, said: ‘While it’s fantastic that more people can now fly than ever before, the fact that air travel has become so accessible has led to some of the sheen being lost for many passengers.

‘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.’

The company will also test iBeacon with its Upper Class passengers at Heathrow. This is a new, low-powered Bluetooth transmitter that will update iOS users with regard to nearby services, discounts and updates on their flight boarding schedules.

Virgin Atlantic has previously introduced a number of technological innovations, becoming the first airline to allow mobile connectivity and SMS texting on board in 2011. 3G is now available on all 10 of Virgin Atlantic’s A330 aircraft, and Wi-Fi is currently being trialled on three of these. All 16 of Virgin Atlantic’s 787s will have the latest 4G technology available on board, the report noted.

The company was also among first airlines to offer individual TVs to its business class passengers in the late 1980s.