London’s Heathrow Airport took the award for best gate initiative for its facial recognition technology and self-boarding gates. (Shutterstock) - AFP
14 September 2017: From the industry’s first in-flight double bed, to the debut of facial recognition and self-boarding gates at one of the busiest airports in the world, the world’s most pioneering airports and airlines were recognised at a recent event that looks towards the future of travel.
At the Future Travel Experience Awards held in Las Vegas last week, Qatar Airways, KLM, Heathrow and Oslo airports were among the standout winners for bringing innovative new products to the market and shaking up the air travel experience.
The big winner of the evening was Qatar Airways, which took home two awards including best baggage initiative and “best up in the air” initiative, for their QSuite, the industry’s first double bed for Business Class. The customisable suite was described as a game-changer when it debuted earlier this year, for its ability to transform into a four-seat configuration, as well as a double bed. The individual suites feature sliding doors for privacy, ambient mood lighting and movable TV monitors.
London’s Heathrow Airport took the award for best gate initiative for its facial recognition technology at Terminal 5, where 36 biometric-enabled self-boarding gates have helped expedite the boarding process for domestic passengers travelling British Airways. Plans are in place to install more than 300 self-boarding gates across Heathrow Airport in the coming year.
Dutch carrier KLM also took to the stage to receive the award for best passenger assistance initiative for their “outstanding use of social media during the travel process”. Flyers can access booking confirmations, check-in notifications, boarding passes and flight status updates in 10 languages on Facebook, Twitter and WeChat, and contact the airline 24/7 via their social media channels.