British Airways Working on New Pill Passengers Can Swallow to Get Better Service

British Airways is looking to automate its service by getting passengers to swallow a pill that will communicate your needs to their crew.

British Airways is investigating getting passengers to swallow ‘digital pills’ that will tell flight staff if they are feeling comfortable.

The ‘ingestible sensors’ will be able to beam wirelessly health information from inside a customer’s body – and be used to help ensure travellers suffer minimal jet-lag.

The information could be used to indicate if a passenger is awake, asleep, hungry, nervous, hot, cold or uncomfortable.

British Airways has filed a patent “for a ‘system and method for controlling the travel environment for a passenger’.”

The idea is to adapt technology currently in use in hospitals which, for instance, monitors whether patients take their pills so that Nurse Ratched cabin crew can stay up to speed with everyone onboard. This seems to go to great lengths to make sure customers don’t press the flight attendant call button.

There are several reasons I don’t see this coming to pass.

First, if British Airways wanted to make passengers more comfortable they:

Second, are we supposed to believe that the British Airways Worldwide Fleet of flight attendants are going to monitor passengers to proactively? I can’t even get them to do this when I ask:

A member of the cabin crew could adjust climate settings when the passenger is asleep and recline their seat, or suggest an exercise routine to prevent fatigue.

Finally, considering all the cutbacks digital monitors to tell crew when we’re hungry are likely to be seat pretty insensitively. Unless you can be proven — through medical technology — to need to eat, you won’t get served. Just more cost-cutting. But this would involve a significant increase in IT spending for speculative savings.

No Pill Can Make London Heathrow Better

I rate this one as a patent filing that isn’t going anywhere. After all, if they’re looking for a little pill that will make passengers more comfortable they just need to cater ex-Jamaica.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Ho-hum. Patent applications don’t always mean the filer is actively intending to implement it, they’re often more for IP protection, future litigation, etc. Tons of patents are filed that never see the light of day in the marketplace.

  2. Hopefully, this new technology will be able to detect when a passenger may experience projectile vomiting or dyssynergic defecation after consuming a British Airways in-flight meal. I would expect this system would then issue an automatic alert to the flight staff that a cleanup is anticipated near seat 2B. As an additional benefit, the flight attendant could advise a first cabin passenger, “Pardon me, we think you’re going to vomit soon so here is a complimentary bonus barf bag.”

  3. right, when they dont care when you are asking, now they will respond to digital signal?
    another way to make some $ with the pill company.

  4. Is this an April Fool’s posting? They need to stop charging those outrageous fuel surcharges for “free” tickets and make sure their male pilots stop masturbating in pantyhose while flying and looking at common print pornography and sending out pics of it.

  5. No patent is required, since such a pill ALREADY EXISTS: It’s called a Xanax. Just swallow one and you will be more comfortable, and you will also THINK you are getting better service — even if you’re not. Doesn’t get any better than that, right? LOL

  6. Ironic that BA is the only carrier to fly direct to Europe from your home airport. Keeping hating, Gary!

  7. So sad to see the demise of this once great airline. I now avoid them like the plague. But it’s a pattern with UK airlines, think about it – BA, SleazyJet, Ryan Air LOL, then there’s that awful FlyBs. I suppose the only one trying to lift their game would be Ae Lingus but that’s still years away before they become civilised.

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