How Wearable Tech Is About to Change the Travel Industry

How can wearable tech help travelers?–First of all, hoteliers are looking to develop more Google Glass apps that will allow quick check ins/check outs from rooms, according to research by Hotel Management. That means you might get to skip the front desk on your way in and out of future hotel visits. Planning an international trip? It might be possible to throw out your passports soon because advanced facial recognition tech–that knows who you are and if you’re clear to enter–will soon come to the aid of border security officials.

The leading tech company, Sabre, introduced wearable apps to speed up customer service and cut long airport lines. In addition, the smartwatch apps, already available in the UK, help customers navigate flights and airport terminals, schedule flights, and send reminder notifications; you won’t have to worry about missing flights or standing in the wrong lines. Sabre also revolutionized travel by using voice command technology to book flights and shop–yes, shop–via virtual reality devices.

Taking off–Vueling Airlines, a Western European airline, led the way by creating apps compatible with Sony Smartwatch and Google Glass to test out in the airport. Vueling’s app, easily accessible through the Google Play App Store, is the first to allow you quick access to your boarding pass and flight information with just your Sony Smartwatch 2 or the Google Glass Explorer Edition. Virgin Atlantic Airlines has already put these products to use during a 6-week trial in the Upper Class Wing at London Heathrow Airport. It certainly seems as though their trial run scored big with passengers, who noted a more connected, streamlined experience overall.

Big tech takes flight–Virgin Atlantic Airlines was the first airline to officially test wearable technology in air. They are also big proponents of opening up in-flight WiFi so passengers can check their emails and social media accounts from their phones and tablets (and smartwatches!). Let’s face it: many of us are uncomfortable with not getting to use internet service for extended time periods. That’s exactly why Virgin made such efforts to connect customers to friends and family while they were traveling for business. Good move!

What were the results?–With smart technology, it’s much easier to personalize the travel experience. For example, engineers are in the process of making tech that lists their passengers’ dietary or drink preferences so that flight attendants have them ready for quick reference.

“While it’s fantastic that more people can now fly than ever before, the fact that air travel has become so accessible has led to some of the sheen being lost for many passengers,” said Dave Bulman, director of IT for the airline, says:  “By being the first in the industry to test how Google Glass and other wearable technology can improve customer experience, we’re upholding Virgin Atlantic’s long tradition of shaking things up and putting innovation at the heart of the flying experience.”

If innovation is the heart of the flying experience, one thing is clear: smarter gadgets, efficient airlines, and seamless scheduling will take center stage in the travel world this decade. Get ready for a faster, frighteningly intuitive travel experience that will stretch the limits of your imagination. It’s almost here!

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