Virgin to roll out Google Glass after successful Heathrow trial

Virgin to roll out Google Glass after successful Heathrow trial

by Martin Ferguson in Brussels

Virgin Atlantic is to permanently implement Google Glass at Heathrow Airport following a successful trial.

Staff at the airline’s terminal three Clubhouse wore the glasses to see if they could help improve the customer service provided to Upper Class passengers.

As travellers arrived at the premium facility in chauffeur driven cars, important passenger details would automatically appear on the mini screen.

The information included names, frequent flyer status, flight numbers and destinations.

Speaking to delegates at the SITA airline IT summit in Brussels, Virgin Atlantic’s chief executive Chris Kreeger the trial was an eventual success.

“It took our people time to get used to wearing the technology,” he said. “As they got more comfortable their ability to perform improved.

“We are still working on it. We don’t yet have a definitive date. It will be rolled out beyond Heathrow to other check in facilities. All we’ve done is look at the data and decide to go ahead.”

At the start of the trial Kreeger said some passengers found the experience “strange” and were maybe worried about an invasion of privacy.

However, he said the majority thought it was “cool”.

“Some of them wanted to try on the glasses, which meant at the beginning it wasn’t the most efficient process.”

Kreeger confirmed the Google Glass would be rolled out permanently, and insisted the exercise was not supposed to be a publicity stunt, though he conceded media coverage had been excellent.

“We felt we were the right airline to be trialling Google Glass. It fits in with our culture,” he said. 

During the trial Virgin staff also experimented with Sony watches and smartphones.

He concluded by revealing Virgin’s next steps would include investment in beacon and facial recognistion technologies.


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