Airline Passengers Ready for Wearable Technology

Following the Future Travel Experience Global conference last week, where various industry experts in the Wearable Technology Forum indicated that passengers were indeed ready to embrace wearable tech as a part of their travel journey, SITA confirmed those claims this Monday with the release of their latest Passenger Trends Survey.

SITA‘s global survey found that 77 percent of passengers would be comfortable with airline or airport staff using wearable technology, such as Google glasses or a smartwatch.


During the FTE Global conference we heard SITA’s CTO, Jim Peters, discuss such innovations as the NYMI biometric bracelet; a bendable iPad screen that could one day fit on an arm sleeve to make the device truly handsfree; and even smart contact lenses that could work similarly to Google glass. It’s no surprise, then, that SITA helped to develop the pilot program for the next speaker…

Tim Graham, IT innovation and development manager for Virgin Atlantic Airways, continued by describing their Wearable Tech trial earlier this year, in which concierge staff in the Upper Class Wing used Google glasses and smartwatches to help streamline and personalize their service. The result? Many passengers didn’t even notice the wearable tech until they were notified by the airline staff, and were thrilled to see how the technology improved their journey experience. When the trial was over, Virgin Atlantic employees were sad to see their helpful gadgets go.

Watch more about Virgin Atlantic’s Wearable Technology project here:

The panel was cautioned by Japan Airlines‘ mobile marketing and strategy supervisor Andy Fujiyama, who advised that JAL passengers were often vocal in their opposition to wearable technology. They found that if staff were using smartphones, passengers assumed they were texting with friends; and if they were using a smartwatch, it could appear to the passenger that the staff member is in a hurry.

DMD Phantom and Bluebox
Lock it In at the APEX/IFSA EXPO


Tablets were hot on the trade show floor at this year’s APEX/IFSA EXPO. Bluebox Avionics, a partner in platform innovation with DMD Phantom had a busy trade show, showing off their new Bluebox hybrid, an in-flight entertainment (IFE) system that allows streaming to integrate with pre-loaded early window content. This highly secure functionality gives movie providers the peace of mind that their content is exclusive and passenger the freedom to be connected while still enjoying the airline perks of newly released entertainment.

Bluebox Ai is the award-winning secure IFE application for iPad and iPad mini, run on airline-owned devices, allowing airlines control of their content. Bluebox wiFE is the unique cabin streaming solution co-developed with Cobham Aerospace Communications. Together these applications offer high quality entertainment experience for passengers either fitted or portable locked in, secure content for airlines.

Kevin Clark of Bluebox took us through the application demonstrating the games, magazines, audio and visuals securely loaded onto the tablet. Airlines are able to brand the software to align with their image giving passengers a holistic experience and no shortage of entertainment options. It was a busy EXPO for DMD Phantom and Bluebox, “never a dull moment on the trade show floor,” laughs Clark.