Malaysia Airlines iPhone app uses augmented reality to offer flight deals

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has developed an ‘augmented reality’ app for the iPhone 3GS and 4. Augmented reality combines a camera, GPS and compass in a smartphone to enable the phone’s camera to recognize an object or place that a user is pointing to. The MAS MHdeals app lets the user see the cheapest MAS tickets when they point their handset in the direction of a destination the airline flies to. See this video for a demo of the app. 

In Malaysian’s own words: “MHdeals is an iPhone augmented reality application that uses the GPS to determine your location and display the nearest airports from which you can access great deals. You simply hold the phone in front of you in the direction of surrounding airports and select one to view flight offers. Passengers can then book their flights through the MHmobile application.” “It’s a fun and interactive way to choose your destination, book a ticket and then fly,” says CTO Jim Peters of aviation technology specialist SITA, who developed the app.

The augmented reality functionality is not yet available on Malaysia’s current MHmobile iPhone app, but will soon be build in. According to travel technology website tnooz MAS plans to develop the app over time to include travel-related features. For example, a user will be able to switch on the augmented reality function at an airport and find where the check-in desk is located or the direction of the departure gate, lounge, baggage claim and other services. 

MAS and SITA have also recently developed the world’s first airline kiosk that uses the Apple iPad. The airline has installed the iPad MHkiosks in its ticket office at the Kuala Lumpur Central station. Passengers can use the kiosk to search and book flights and check-in online. The interface and functionality of the MHkiosk is similar to the MHmobile app. Says MAS, “the iPad MHkiosk caters for customers who walk in at our ticket office whereas MHmobile offers convenience for customers on the move.” 

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