|Virgin Atlantic has begun a pilot program in which its Upper Class concierges will use Google Glass to check in customers.|
Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to become the world's first airline to kit its staff with Google Glass.
Starting this week, ground staff working the Upper Class Wing or clubhouse at Heathrow Airport will greet VIP flyers wearing Google Glass to start the check-in process.
The wearable technology will be used to identify and greet passengers by name and provide the latest updates on their flight information, weather and local events at their destination.
The airline also foresees potential for the technology to help deliver more personalized services such as identifying travelers' dietary and food preferences.
Virgin Atlantic is testing the program in a six-week pilot project before considering a wider roll-out.
In addition to Google Glass, the carrier is also exploring an online service that can keep iPhone flyers abreast of latest offers, services and flight boarding schedules using iBeacon technology.
While air transport and IT communications specialists at SITA predicted that it's too early for airlines to offer Google Glass services to their passengers, the group did divine in a report published last year that carriers may arm flight crew, ground staff and maintenance crews with the hands-free technology.
Instead of staring down at a computer screen, for example, Google Glass would allow ticketing staff to interact more directly with flyers. The technology could also be used to deliver real-time translations for ground staff interacting with customers who speak different languages.
In other technological and innovation news out of the airline industry, online travel agency CheapAir.com became the first in the industry to accept Bitcoins as payments for flights.