Augmented reality on airlines?
Credit: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand flight attendants may soon be able to cater to your every desire before you even speak.

No, the company isn’t hiring a bunch of mind readers. Rather, it’s collaborating with Dimension Data and the Microsoft HoloLens headset to allow attendants to aggregate and display key customer information directly in front of them via augmented reality. The data will include a customer's preferred meal and drink choice, onward travel and loyalty membership details. The program is even sophisticated enough to detect the emotion of the customer by picking up on visual and audio cues.

Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Avi Golan explained in a statement that the airline is simply continuing its strong culture of experimentation with new HoloLens.

“This software is a great example of us collaborating with other partners and exploring how technology could enhance the way our people work as well as the experience they deliver to our customers through greater personalisation,” Golan said.

The only drawback, according to critics, is the geeky appearance of the glasses. It’s sort of a mix of “Terminator” meets “The Matrix” vibe.

In a video promoting the new tech, Jonathan Glenister, Dimension Data’s digital strategic solutions manager, explained, “We worked with the Air New Zealand cabin crew to trial a Microsoft HoloLens application. The app uses cognitive services and surfaces relevant data about the passenger, their preferences and their journey. Although it is only in beta at this point, we think there are great possibilities to take it further and transform the travel experience.”

Believe it or not, the augmented reality cabin crew headgear isn’t even the craziest thing an airline has come up with. In 2016, British Airways filed a patent for what it called a “digital pill” that would enable the crew to monitor a passenger’s “biometrics,” according to Futurism. The pill would monitor a passenger’s stomach acidity so crew can adjust their meals, and would also keep track of their temperature and heart rate.

Unlike the digital pill, the HoloLens glasses have a good chance of actually being on a flight you take in the near future.