Virgin Atlantic Gives Employees Google Glass To Make Plane Travel Better


Chris Gayomali

February 11, 2014

It’s becoming increasingly clear that even if Google Glass fails to win over more stylish customers, the technology could one day find itself indispensable in a number of industries. We’ve already explored Glass’s utility to surgeons in the emergency room, especially as a communication tool for transmitting real-time footage to other specialists, but its presence in other fields has been somewhat more sparse.

That’s beginning to change a bit. Today, Virgin Atlantic introduced a first-of-its kind trial program to outfit its concierge staff–which serves the airline’s high-end customers–with wearable tech. For a six-week pilot test, employees at London’s Heathrow airport will be donning Google Glass and, more perplexingly, Sony’s clumsy line of smartwatches. The general idea behind the initiative is to more easily call up passenger information about flight changes or delays as they are being shuttled from their “chauffeured limousine” (Virgin Atlantic’s words, not mine) to the gate. One of the more interesting applications, however, could be Glass’s ability to quickly translate languages on the fly for truly elite globe-trotting customers.

If that seems a bit gimmicky to you, well, you probably aren’t alone. The airline has no qualms with, shall we say, “unique” marketing tactics to attract attention, like providing improv comedy on flights. To say nothing of whether Virgin Atlantic’s clients might feel a bit weird having a Glass-abetted cyborg smiling at them.

This much is clear, though: For better or worse, industries will begin experimenting with Glass to determine if it truly is a useful tool. Now all we need is a SkyMall app.

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