Virgin Atlantic staff at London's Heathrow airport is wearing Google Glass or Sony SmartWatch 2 to assist passengers and at the same time bring some glamour to the air travel industry.
Concierge staff members in Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class Wing are using either Google Glass or Sony's SmartWatch 2 at Heathrow as a pilot program for six weeks. The key aim of the program is to provide a better and more personalized service to passengers using the latest tech gadgets.
SITA, a multinational information technology company that specializes in providing IT and telecommunication services to the air transport industry, says that the minute Upper Class passengers arrive at Heathrow's T3 they are greeted by name and Virgin Atlantic staff--equipped with the latest wearable technology--start the check-in process. The Virgin Atlantic staff also update passengers on their latest flight information, weather and local events at their destination.
The airline staff are also able to help passengers translate any foreign language information. In the near future, Google Glass may help Virgin Atlantic staff find passengers' dietary and refreshment preferences, too.
Virgin Atlantic suggests that its latest initiative replaces an existing service that gave its employees customized information. The airline operator also stated that if successful, Virgin may bring Google Glass or the Sony smartwatches to other airports as well. However, the company did not indicate if it will use the technology to offer service to passengers with lower-tier tickets.
"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. Our wearable technology pilot with SITA makes us the first in the industry to test how Google Glass and other wearable technology can improve the customer experience. We are upholding Virgin Atlantic's long tradition of shaking things up and putting innovation at the heart of the flying experience," said Dave Bulman, director of IT for Virgin Atlantic.
Sony SmartWatch 2 was launched in September 2013 and is currently available on the market. However, Google launched the Explorer edition (for developers only) of the Google Glass in February 2013. The consumer version of the wearable gadget is expected to be released this year.
Virgin Atlantic is the first in the industry to use the latest wearable gadgets to improve its customer service. It may not be long before competitors jump on the bandwagon and start using wearable gadgets as well.