Virgin Atlantic’s trial of Google Glass to make flying a ‘more luxurious’ experience has been a great success.
Speaking at the Wearable Technology Show in London, Tim Graham from Virgin Innovation outlined how feedback from passengers who experienced the new service has been positive. Virgin will now look to extend the trial further.
SITA Labs developed the software used in the trial.
The airline carried out the trial over a six week period at Heathrow with Upper Class passengers.
Passengers were met by Virgin Atlantic staff wearing Google Glasses and Sony Smartwatches. The staff could input, for example, the limo registration number and all relevant data, including APIS and FQTV information, was retrieved and sent to Google Glass or Sony Smartwatch.
Some lessons learned
- The trial helped reduce the number of times that Virgin staff had to go behind a desk to look something up for a passenger.
- The devices also negated the need for any radio communications between staff, as all the information needed for each passenger was available through the unit.
- The battery life of the Google Glass was good, lasting for an entire shift which could be between eight and ten hours.
- Connectivity to the Google Glass devices was not always reliable, due in part to the mobile 3G networks being used in conjunction with a Bluetooth connection. Switching to Wi-Fi network improved things.
The idea for the trial came from a survey of 10,000 passengers. The survey found that 53 percent of UK passengers believed flying to be less glamorous than it used to be, with many asking for technological improvements such as on-board Wi-Fi.