UK pax share their thoughts on AI and VR applications in airport lounges

Two reports into UK airline passenger preferences reveal some surprising generational differences in consumer sentiment towards new technologies.

The studies were conducted by YouGov on behalf of media sales, entertainment curation and content marketing company Spafax Group.

The two separate studies, one which explored virtual reality (VR) applications and another that explored artificial intelligence (AI), concentrated on the future of airport lounges, but some of the technology applications might also be available in other contexts, like at the airport terminal or at the passenger’s home.

Artificial Intelligence

When asked about their interest in personalized services supported by AI, one-third (38%) of the 2,049 the British adults who participated expressed a preference for AI applications that would speed up the travel process, such as avoiding queues and minimising problems at check-in.

Those aged 18-24 were most interested (44%) in this AI feature compared with 35% of those aged 25-44 and 30% of those aged 45 to 54. However, 40% of those aged 55 and over also said they would like AI to support a smoother journey.

Additionally 30% of the overall sample  said they would be interested in AI-personalized travel guides to their destination. New York was used as the example destination in the survey. Those aged 35-44 were most interested (32%) in personalized guides, with those aged 45-54 least interested (25%).

 Virtual Reality

When asked what personalized experiences they might enjoy at an airport lounge of the future, the biggest response –  38% – was for no VR-based personalised experience at an airport lounge.

But 35% expressed a preference for virtual reality travel inspiration that would allow them to explore sites at their destination that they might want to see when they arrive and 25% said they would enjoy a virtual reality “Great Wall of China” experience which would have them walking on a treadmill at a pace that keeps up with the immersive video.

Younger passengers (18-24) were more receptive to these AI applications with 34% welcoming the chance to explore sites at their destination in VR while at the airport lounge and 32% expressing interest in the “Great Wall of China” experience. Travellers older than 25 were less enthusiastic about these VR applications, though the response was not entirely consistent.

For example, 31% of those 25-44 said they would like to explore destination sites in VR, 33% of those 35-44 agreed, while 40% of those 45-54 and 35% of those 55+ agreed. Only 25% of 25-44 year olds said they would be interested in the “Great Wall of China Experience,” 29% of 45-54 year olds were interested and only 22% of those 55+ were interested.

Additionally, 37% of 18-34 year olds said they would be interested in AR versions of traditional board games (like Cluedo and Monopoly) that they could play against other passengers waiting in the lounge. Interest in augmented reality games dropped to only 23% of 35-44 year olds, 21% of 45-54 year olds and 9% of those aged 55 or older.

Marisa Garcia

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