Airline Stories August 7, 2014

United Airlines adds passport scanning for international flights to mobile app

The immigration authorities of most countries require airlines to check the passports of their passengers before they are allowed to fly, so if you are making your first international flight with an airline, you have to queue up at check-in instead of downloading your own boarding pass at home. United Airlines is aiming to end this by adding the ability to scan and verify your passport using its mobile app, then head straight to Departures at the airport.

Once you’ve scanned your passport with your Android phone’s camera, the app sends the details to credentials management company Jumio Inc, who verify that your passport is valid which then allows you to download your boarding pass.

If your passport is already registered with United from a previous international flight, you don’t need to scan it again, it is verified automatically.

The bad news is that the system can’t yet verify visas, so if you need a visa for the country you’re visiting, you’ll still need to check-in the old-fashioned way.

You can download the free United Airlines app from the Google play store.

Airline Stories February 10, 2014

With Google Glass finally available to just about anyone willing to sign up and throw down the $1500 purchase price, we’re seeing more and more professionals take advantage of the handsfree, head-mounted computer to make daily tasks more efficient. The latest to trial Glass, according to a report from TheDailyMail, is Virgin Atlantic airlines in a test at London’s Heathrow airport. Staff of Virgin’s Upper Class lounge are apparently using Glass to identify passengers in order to greet them by name and pull up relevant trip information: expand full story

Airline Stories November 7, 2013

Airlines implement gate-to-gate handheld device rules faster than expected

United and American have joined Delta and Jet Blue in permitting gate-to-gate use of portable electronic devices, following the FAA ruling making it legal to do so.

The FAA had said at the time that airlines would need to perform individual tests to demonstrate that the use of electronic devices during all phases of flight would be safe, and had suggested that this might take some time. With the announcement expected as long ago as March, however, it appears that several airlines undertook this testing in advance of the formal ruling.

There has still been no clarification on what constitutes a ‘handheld’ device, but airlines so far appear to be saying yes to tablets and ebook readers and no to laptops. With many tablet and Bluetooth keyboard combos being visually indistinguishable from ultrabooks to non-technical cabin crews, we shall watch with interest to see how the rules are enforced.

Airline Stories September 14, 2011

Australian Business Traveler is reporting that Boeing has selected Android as the exclusive operating system for the entertainment system in the new 787 Dreamline aircraft. Boeing will use Android to provide flyers with music, video, and airline specific apps that will be embedded through touchscreen panels on the back of the headrest, built by Panasonic.

First class and business seats will have non-touchscreen panels, because they will be much larger, but will feature hand-gesturing — which is a prototype as of now.

Luckily, the touchscreen panels in coach will have wider viewing angles and will be less reflective of light than airplane screens that you see today.  Also capacitative sensors will replace resistive touch.

For those of you who use laptops on airplanes, you’ll be thrilled to know the 787s will include laptop power sockets and USB ports on the menu for economy seats. Chromebooks, anyone? 

There have already been 820 orders of the new 787 Dreamline aircraft, so the number of people that will be open to Android will be significant.

More shots after the break:

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