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Flight Attendants May Keep Track of Passenger Well Being Via Seat Sensors


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It’s nice when flight attendants recognize you as a frequent flier and can identify you by name. Being aware of your typical requests for service while flying on their airline helps the crew better attend to your needs. Now, imagine that the airline seats themselves help report important facts to the airline attendants.

Five students at the Delft University of Technology developed a system that would us software and sensors embedded in airline seats to help flight attendants see which passengers are feeling poorly and need extra attention, according to a recent article in the Daily Mail.

Heart rate sensors (using technology that exists today) embedded in the seat will pick up the passenger’s heart rate, which indicates how they are doing and whether they might be scared or anxious. When an attendant notices the sensor data, he or she can walk over to the passenger and offer some encouraging words or just chat for a bit to distract the worried flyer. 

The cabin crew would see an icon representing each passenger and the seats they are sitting in. Different colors would show levels of anxiety and fear, so the flight attendants will merely need to glance at the display to see which people could use some tender loving care.

Zodiac Aerospace commissioned the project’s application, which the students tested by interviewing KLM flight attendants. They worked with a prototype but did not have access to actual seat sensors to truly test the reactions of passengers. 

Still to be worked out are concerns about protecting the privacy of each passenger (who will be able to see the display showing each passenger’s vital statistics, for example). Seats with actual sensors embedded in them will also need to be tested and evaluated to see what the system will actually look like. 

The team at Royal Coachman finds such developments in technology interesting and intriguing. Any effort to improve the passenger experience is welcome. If sensors in airline seats will help the cabin crew better monitor each traveler, this should be a welcome upgrade that many individuals will appreciate.

Posted in: corporate travel

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