Emirates Working on Augmented Reality Glasses to Improve Customer Service

Three years ago Virgin Atlantic used Google Glass to provide customer service to premium customers, the idea was for instance for premium passengers,

[a] Virgin rep would greet you at your limo, confirm that your travel itinerary is up to date, and clue you in on the weather expected for your destination, “all without breaking eye contact.”

I tried Google Glass.. and returned them for a full refund. The technology just didn’t seem ready for prime time.

Nonetheless the concept retains promise for customer service delivery, as well as for self-service uses. And Emirates sees the technology as something that can differentiate it from budget airline rivals.

The Gulf carrier is studying ways to equip staff with augmented reality glasses that display a passenger’s name and travel habits, allowing more personalized service, Emirates’ Chief Digital and Innovation Officer Christoph Mueller said. Travelers may also be given eye-wear to help them navigate airports or browse food menus.

“We could enhance customer service tremendously,” said Mueller, who was appointed last year to help modernize the world’s biggest long-haul airline. “The consumer will want to interact in a completely different way.”

In the short term Emirates is cutting use of onboard first class showers on their shortest flights and eliminate welcome towels in economy. They’re monetizing their lounges.

And while they’re finally introducing fully flat seats in Boeing 777 business class, that’s only for new aircraft and there’s no plan to retrofit planes.

However this is one signal that in the long term they see their future as investing in product.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Air New Zealand is developing the same tech. Guess this will be the future onboard service.

  2. If they really want to improve customer service beyond their nice a 380s
    They should start with their Human Resources
    While some of the FAs are great there are plenty that could work for American Airlines
    Serious attitude
    I’ve had superior customer service in coach on Alaska Airlines than I had on Emirates in First Class and Business at select occasions
    They should empower their agents to make things right when their food sucks too
    I typically avoid them but don’t rule them out either as I have had some good flights as well
    Granted Emirates has some very impressive aircraft
    They don’t need new glasses they should just take their blinders off and take care of their premium cabins!!
    What’s next replace pilots and FAs and put in Robots from the Jetsons on board ?

  3. Genuinely thought you meant that Emirates’ customer service is non-existent, just a fiction in their 3d-glasses

  4. You reminded me of Google Glass, the first time I’ve seen the concept I was going crazy,, thinking of all the possibilities. But my imagination went to far and the project was not received so well. But VR is something different and it has started really big and going in different directions, not just gaming.

  5. The future is here!
    There are so many possibilities with Augmented Reality and it’s also usable on a variety of devices such as mobile phones. Virtual Reality, on the other hand, is quite hardware dependent.
    It will be interesting to see how Emirates are going to implement this.

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