AI, VR to upgrade passenger experience

Artificial intelligence and virtual reality to play major roles in travel
Artificial intelligence and virtual reality will play major roles in shaping the passenger experience of the future, predicts Robert Boyle of International Airlines Group.
Artificial intelligence, virtualization and natural language are among the tech areas that are growing in importance in the travel industry. Digital has gone from being novel to normal.
“Customers want everything and they want it now,” he says. “The average time before they click or swipe away, if they are not given what they want, is eight seconds.”
In AI, machines will be able to think and act on your behalf, while in VR the potential is in improving the passenger experience.
“Virtual reality is finally making it out of the lab to be a thing that works and is getting affordable,” he said. “People can try the travel experience before they buy, which has never been done before.”
In travel booking, passengers need “recommendation engines”, he said – a role traditionally performed by travel agents but will eventually be done with smart technology.
Meanwhile, natural language, as in Apple’s Siri or Google’s Alexa, “is clearly an area which is going to get massive investment and will only get better”. Virtual assistant technology is primarily of interest to business travellers, Boyle thinks.
He also predicts fully automated air bridges, baggage and cargo, as well as unmanned commercial flights.