Heathrow tests new 3D technology to enable faster security check

London Heathrow is testing an innovative ‘glasses-free 3D’ technology that that is intended to help reduce the number of prohibited items placed in hand baggage, and therefore offer departing passengers a smooth journey through the UK’s only hub airport.

The airport is running a trial of the new technology in the departure security zone at Terminal 1. Large screens show 3D images of items that are not permitted through security, such as scissors, tweezers and liquids over 100ml.

Passengers are also shown how to dispose of the items in the recycling bins before putting their luggage through the scanner.

In the usual course, if banned items are identified during a scan the bag is rejected and has to be hand searched by a security officer. The new technology will reduce queues at security by cutting down on the number of bags that are rejected for manual search, and ensures that all passengers have a smoother journey.

The technology is provided by New York-based Exceptional 3D’s patented auto-stereoscopic 3D display technology. The trial was launched after being suggested by one of Heathrow’s security officers, Samit Saini. The trial will run for 8 weeks.

Richard Harding, head of IT innovation at Heathrow said: ‘Helping prepare passengers for security saves them time and reduces the chance of having their bag searched. 3D technology is the latest way to help get this message across. Once we’ve analysed the trial’s results we’ll decide whether to expand the technology to the rest of the airport.’

Matthew Young, managing director of Exceptional 3D Europe, added: ‘We’re very excited to be working with Heathrow Airport in an effort to make travelling an even smoother experience. As our business requires us to travel like many others in the world, we know and understand that there is a mild frustration when it comes to unexpected delays. It’s our expectation that this will not only improve the traveller experience but also help minimise delays at necessary and very critical stages of air travel.’

Virgin Atlantic brings live entertainment to flyers at 30,000 feet

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic is set to launch Little Red Live, a series of live in-flight entertainment slots at 30,000 feet, for some of its passengers travelling on the Virgin Atlantic Little Red domestic service.

Passengers on selected Little Red flights from London Heathrow to Edinburgh and Manchester will be treated to exclusive live music and comedy sets from some of the rising stars in entertainment.

Little Red Live will be launched with a series of stand-up gigs during the popular Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Virgin Atlantic will also be bringing Little Red to the Fringe, with the sponsorship of Venue150 @ EICC, one of the festival’s largest venues. Then, in September, Little Red Live will launch a series of secret acoustic music gigs, honouring Scotland and Manchester’s rich music scenes.

Little Red service flies from London Heathrow six times daily to Edinburgh, three times daily to Aberdeen, as well as four daily round-trips between Manchester and Heathrow.

The Little Red LIVE line-up will be announced during August on Virgin Atlantic’s facebook and twitter channels, but the flight details will remain a secret, making it a unique and surprising experience for passengers.

Besides entertainment, Little Red will offer Virgin Atlantic’s customer service, including a free checked-in baggage allowance of 23kg, free carriage of sports equipment, pre-assigned seating, complimentary snacks and drinks and also hot breakfasts on early morning flights. Tyrrells will provide special Little Red ‘Plane crisps’ made from miniature potatoes, Bacardi Martini will provide a variety of exclusive miniature spirits, and Scotland’s favourite soft drink, Irn Bru, will be available on flights to and from Scotland.

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic founder and president, said, ‘We launched Virgin Atlantic Little Red to shake up domestic flying in the UK and this latest activity highlights why our customer service is second to none. In true Virgin Atlantic spirit we’re doing something a little different and providing our passengers with a line-up of gigs to ensure we offer a truly unforgettable flying experience on Little Red.’