Virgin Atlantic is running a six-week trial of equipping customer service agents with Google Glass and/or Sony Smartwatches at London’s Heathrow Airport. When Virgin Upper Class customers get out of their chauffeured limo, the agent will have information about the customers — their itineraries and other relevant information — available on their wrists or before their eyes.
This may sound creepier than it really is. The high end of the travel market is extremely high touch. We recall a stay at Washington, D.C.’s Willard Hotel many years ago. It’s the kind of place that has cards in all the rooms, along with the room service menu, detailing the correct salutation for ambassadors, cabinet secretaries, and members of Congress. The bellman got our name off our luggage tag and passed it by radio to the concierge and the front desk as we were walking across the lobby; by the time I’d checked in, five people had smiled and greeted us by name. It makes an impression, and Virgin’s efforts with wearables is essentially the same thing.