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Virgin Atlantic to trial Google Glass at Heathrow

12 Feb 2014 by Jenny Southan

Virgin concierges in the Upper Class wing will for the next six weeks be testing how wearable technology could improve passenger experience and efficiency.

The airline said that from the moment business class travellers arrive at London Heathrow, Glass-wearing staff will begin the check-in process, while at the same time using the device to provide updates on flight information, check weather forecast in their onward destination, and translate simple phrases if they speak a foreign language.

The benefit of being able to wear the computer could allow staff to walk around while still able to access the internet to find out the answers to customer questions.

They could also potentially take photos, record video, send emails and make phone calls.

Dave Bulman, director of IT at Virgin Atlantic, said: “By being the first in the industry to test how Google Glass and other wearable technology can improve customer experience, we are upholding Virgin Atlantic’s long tradition of shaking things up and putting innovation at the heart of the flying experience.”

Virgin said that in the future, the gadget could inform staff of people’s dietary requirements and refreshment preferences, although it does need wifi connectivity to function. (The carrier announced it would be trialling in-flight internet last April.)

If Google Glass is deemed a success, it could be rolled out at other airports. It is operated both by voice control and touch, by swiping a small touchpad on the side of the frame.

There are no lenses — instead, a tiny crystal display creates the impression of a screen in front of the eye. At its heart is Google’s search function.

For more information, subscribers can click here to learn about how the tech giant is changing the way we travel.

Google Glass is expected to be released to the public some time this year.

virgin-atlantic.com, google.co.uk

Jenny Southan

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