Exploring a new augmented reality training app

We’re introducing innovative training technology – as part of an innovation collaboration with SITA, the leading global IT provider – that allows our cabin crew to use augmented reality to familiarise themselves with new aircraft.

Using an iOS app, cabin crew use augmented reality to walkthrough and acquaint themselves with the layout of Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft without even visiting the airport or getting onto the plane. To complement the existing classroom-based training, this app allows crew members to see the cabin projected as a portal in front of them and are able to ‘walk into’ the cabin. The AR app simulates the full-size view of the interior cabin, giving crew a feel for their new working environment, including accurate spatial awareness. This allows us to train crew on new aircraft in a fun and engaging way from our headquarters in Crawley, West Sussex.

Augmented reality presents several interesting use cases in the air transport industry, ranging from sales, training and operations to improvements to the passenger experience. Virgin Atlantic and SITA Lab, SITA’s technology research arm, have teamed up to identify and test some of the more promising use cases, starting with the crew training app.

“Today innovation is the lifeblood of a modern airline,” said our chief information officer Don Langford. “New technologies such as augmented reality hold out the promise to better manage our airline operations while providing an enriched experience to our increasingly tech-savvy passengers. SITA has long been a partner in exploring the frontiers of technology and this AR application is no exception.”

“SITA Lab has identified augmented reality as one of the emerging technologies that will benefit the air transport in the years to come,” said Gustavo Pina, head of SITA Lab. “Working with pioneering airlines such as Virgin Atlantic makes it possible for SITA Lab to really explore the potential of augmented reality and evaluate its business benefits. This project is a vital step in that journey of exploration.”

Over the past decade, we’ve often worked together with SITA to drive innovation in technology. In 2013, we partnered to develop award-winning Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch technology enabling our concierge staff in our Upper Class Wing to deliver the industry’s most high tech and personalised customer service.

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