Three years ago Virgin Atlantic used Google Glass to provide customer service to premium customers, the idea was for instance for premium passengers,
[a] Virgin rep would greet you at your limo, confirm that your travel itinerary is up to date, and clue you in on the weather expected for your destination, “all without breaking eye contact.”
I tried Google Glass.. and returned them for a full refund. The technology just didn’t seem ready for prime time.
Nonetheless the concept retains promise for customer service delivery, as well as for self-service uses. And Emirates sees the technology as something that can differentiate it from budget airline rivals.
The Gulf carrier is studying ways to equip staff with augmented reality glasses that display a passenger’s name and travel habits, allowing more personalized service, Emirates’ Chief Digital and Innovation Officer Christoph Mueller said. Travelers may also be given eye-wear to help them navigate airports or browse food menus.
“We could enhance customer service tremendously,” said Mueller, who was appointed last year to help modernize the world’s biggest long-haul airline. “The consumer will want to interact in a completely different way.”
In the short term Emirates is cutting use of onboard first class showers on their shortest flights and eliminate welcome towels in economy. They’re monetizing their lounges.
And while they’re finally introducing fully flat seats in Boeing 777 business class, that’s only for new aircraft and there’s no plan to retrofit planes.
However this is one signal that in the long term they see their future as investing in product.