Virgin improves passenger experience with iBeacon

Passengers will be able to receive messages from the beacons related to their location in LHR

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class passengers at London Heathrow will become some of the first people to experience a new technology designed to give personal notifications to their phones via Apple’s iBeacon technology. The airline is looking at using iBeacon to deliver a better passenger experience.


iBeacon is an indoor positioning system which involves transmitters uses a Bluetooth low-energy signal to create an indoor version of GPS that can be used to build location-aware services — the classic example being one that offers customers a special offer as they walk past a store.

Using the iBeacon Virgin Atlantic Upper Class passengers with an electronic boarding pass loaded in their iPhone’s Passbook app will be able to receive messages from the beacons related to their location in London’s Heathrow airport.

Virgin are looking at using the technology for a wide range of passenger experience enhancements, for example:

  • a passenger approaching the security could get a notification for their phone to open their electronic boarding pass ready to be scanned by security
  • passengers could receive special partner offers e.g. discounts in shops
  • notifying an Upper Class passenger that there is an open appointment in the Clubhouse spa
  • introducing the crew members on their flight as they board the aircraft
  • get a map of the airport showing where amenities and their boarding gate is located
  • advance information about what inflight entertainment will be onboard the flight


Virgin recently ran a trial which involved airport staff wearing Google Glass as they greeted Upper Class passengers.

Coca Cola plans to use iBeacon as part of its marketing activity for this summer’s football World Cup, and is interested in using it to tell customers what products are available at points of sale at live events.