At the beginning of May, Virgin Atlantic launched a trial of iBeacons in the Upper Class Wing at London Heathrow Airport, with the aim of exploring if and how the technology can help to personalise the airport experience for passengers. The iBeacons together create an indoor proximity system and they transmit a signal using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to nearby devices, enabling them to trigger specific actions on travellers’ smartphones.
For instance, a passenger approaching the security area in the Upper Class Wing might receive a signal to their smartphone, triggering their mobile boarding pass to be automatically displayed, saving them having to search for the digital boarding pass themselves. The iBeacons are also currently being used to notify passengers of currency exchange offers in their locality, highlighting the potential retail benefits of the system.
Reuben Arnold, Brand & Customer Engagement Director, Virgin Atlantic, said the carrier has “only skimmed the surface” of the benefits beacon technology can provide. He added: “In the future, we expect it to further personalise our passengers’ journey, such as notifying an Upper Class passenger that there is an open appointment in the Clubhouse spa, or introducing the crew members on their flight as they board the aircraft.”