Virgin taps into phones for enhanced pax experience

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Virgin Atlantic passengers at London Heathrow airport are soon to become some of the first people to experience a new technology designed to send personal notifications to their phones. The airline is using Apple’s iBeacon technology, which uses Bluetooth Low Energy and geofencing, to provide a connected service through their airport experience.

Using iBeacon devices created by Estimote, a technology start-up building a sensor-based analytics and engagement platform, smartphones with Apple Passbook downloaded in range of a device, can receive communications from the beacon related to their location in the airport.

For example, an Upper Class passenger approaching the private security channel can receive a notification for their phone to open their electronic boarding pass ready to be scanned by security. In the main area of the airport, passengers using the service will receive special partner offers, such as 0% commission as they pass the MoneyCorp currency exchange booth.

Reuben Arnold, brand and customer engagement director at Virgin Atlantic, said, “At this stage, we’ve only skimmed the surface on the advantages that this technology can offer our customers. In the future, we expect it to further personalise our passenger’s journey, such as notifying an Upper Class passenger that there is an open appointment in the Clubhouse spa or introducing the crew members on their flight as they board the aircraft. Our passengers are increasingly more connected as they travel and by using advanced technology we can improve customer experience and continue to put innovation at the heart of the flying experience.”

Earlier this year, the airline completed a successful trial of Google Glass in its Upper Class Wing at London Heathrow. From the minute Upper Class passengers stepped out of their chauffeured limousine and were greeted by name, Virgin Atlantic staff wearing the technology were able to update passengers on a range of relevant information about their onward journey, including the latest flight times, available seats onboard, destination weather and arrival transportation details.

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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