By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
19 March 2014 | Many of today’s airline product and service innovations contain a major digital component, as the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, the possibility to be connected anywhere and anytime, and the self-service mindset of connected travellers, have created a huge momentum.
This year, wearable tech devices are joining the digital revolution, with Virgin Atlantic’s six-week trial – featuring Google Glass and Sony SmartWatch 2 devices – in its Heathrow lounge creating a huge wave of publicity for the airline.
Commenting on the launch of the Virgin Atlantic trial, Jim Peters, chief technology officer of SITA stated that “2014 is shaping up to be the breakout year for wearable technology.” In fact, market forecaster Canalys estimates that worldwide shipments of smart watches will exceed 5 million unit shipments in 2014 – growing tenfold compared with the 500,000+ units shipped in 2013 – as a new generation of devices from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and others are launched this year.
Vueling x Sony
Spanish hybrid LCC has joined Virgin Atlantic as an early adapter of wearable technology and together with Sony has launched the world’s first application that allows passengers to “carry both their boarding pass and flight information on their wrist,” as both companies put it.
Conceived for Sony’s SmartWatch 2 intelligent watch, the Android-based app – due to launch on Google Play from the end of the month – allows passengers to display a 2D boarding card barcode on the watch’s display, as well as displaying details of upcoming flights – similar to the functionality offered in many airlines’ smartphone apps. Read full article »
By Louise Driscoll, Terminal U
20 December 2012 | These days you can find a themed hotel to suit any interest – from stylist fashion hotels to Vegas’s mega-resorts that pay homage to world cities.
We’ve seen plane-themed hotels before, but now a budget airline plans to take the idea further by opening hotels based around the flight experience.
Spanish airline Vueling is working with hotel chain Hoteles Catalonia (HC) to open its first themed hotel in downtown Barcelona next year.
But instead of showcasing a few plane models in the lobby for novelty value, the hotel will make guests feel that they’ve just boarded a Vueling flight. Artist impressions of the hotel show a reception area that will recreate an airport check-in counter and a bar-restaurant inside a mock aircraft cabin.
The themed experience doesn’t stop there. A breakfast area will be made to look like it’s inside an airport terminal, with overhead information screens.
Vueling’s yellow and grey brand colours will also play a big part in branding the experience, from the seat back covers in the restaurant area to the throws on the guest beds. The airline even plans to name each room after the destinations it serves.
But Vueling will leave its partner, Hoteles Catalonia (HC) to operate and manage the hotel chain, under the “Vueling by HC” brand. The first hotel, ‘Vueling BCN by HC’ is expected to open in March 2013. (BCN stands for Barcelona airport). More hotels openings are planned in destinations that Vueling serves, the hotel chain said.