Virgin Atlantic to trial iBeacons at the airport

Was a joke by Richard Branson responsible for helping turn around Apple's fortunes? (Credit: Virgin)
Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson (Credit: Virgin)

Could iBeacons help improve the air travel experience? Sir Richard Branson thinks they could.

Branson’s majority-owned Virgin Atlantic is the latest company to hop aboard the iBeacon bandwagon — announcing plans to use the technology to send customized messages to passenger’s iPhones in London’s Heathrow airport in the UK.

The program, which is being created in conjunction with beacon startup Estimote, will use Apple’s iBeacons technology in conjunction with the Passbook iOS app.


Potential applications could include everything from travel information, to targeted ads. In one described application, passengers would receive offers on their iPhones, directing them to no-fee currency exchange points.

This isn’t the fist time Virgin Atlantic has seized on new technology to help improve its travel experience. Recently the company trialed the use of Google Glass on airline employees who greeted first-class passengers when they arrived at the airport.

The use of iBeacons is being embraced by a number of different businesses — despite our concerns that they risk becoming “seamless spam machines” if implemented incorrectly. In January, a Dutch theme park became one of the first to use iBeacons to provide guests with visitor information. More recently a New York museum employed the technology to create a virtual landmine field. At Coachella, iBeacons were additionally used to provide proximity-specific information for attendees.

Source: Re/code