Now, it looks like checking luggage dimensions for carry-on eligibility is another volumetric problem increasingly being solved by augmented reality, as UK airline easyJet has added just such a feature to its iOS app.
Available through the check-in process to customers with flights booked through the airline, the Cabin Bag Sizer uses ARKit to anchor a 3D "sizing cage" in the camera view of the app, so that travelers can place their luggage within the box to see if their bag meets the airline's carry-on specifications, hence avoiding bag-checking charges for oversized luggage.
"We are constantly on the search for ways to improve the travel experience we offer our customers when flying with us and this new technology is a perfect example of that," said Daniel Young, head of digital experience at easyJet, in a statement. "We continue to place innovation at the heart of our industry-leading mobile travel app to give our customers the tools they need to take stress away from the airport experience. Embracing this latest technology makes preparing for travel easy and fun."
Travelport, a technology company specializing in IT solutions for airlines and travel agencies, created the AR feature for easyJet. The company counts Singapore Airlines, Copa Airlines, Fiji Airways, LATAM Airlines, and Etihad Airways among its airline clients.
"Audiences are increasingly demanding digital solutions, which improve their travel experience. We were therefore thrilled to support easyJet push the barrier of innovation once again," said Cormac Reilly, VP & global head of travel partners solutions at Travelport. "By incorporating this unique augmented reality feature in the app, easyJet will further reduce un-expected baggage queries on arrival. It is enhancements like this which have helped easyJet stand out as leaders in digital innovation and achieve the huge milestone of 30 million app downloads."
Of course, the new easyJet feature isn't the first augmented reality luggage checking tool. Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) developed a nearly-identical feature for its iOS app last year. And eBay preceded both airlines with a similar feature for its Android app, which helps sellers determine which shipping box fits the items they are shipping to customers.
Traditionally, the airline industry doesn't have the best reputation for customer service, however, last year's J.D. Power study of North American airlines shows that the industry is steadily improving.
Part of that gradual quality boost appears to be coming from the airlines adopting augmented reality as a solution to help improve the overall customer experience.
Whether it's the luggage checking tools provided by easyJet and KLM, or in-flight entertainment from Airbus, or a prototype wayfinding app for airports under development with American Airlines, it looks like AR soon become as indispensable to the air travel process as mobile boarding passes.