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Few travelers are using wearable technology right now, but brands that launch early will have time to iterate and improve their apps for early adopters and soon-to-be growing number of smartwatch owners.
Most airlines didn’t even have a chance to fine tune their smartphone apps before wearables entered the market introducing an another fast paperless way to board a plane.
The first three airlines to launch the technology are AirBerlin, Vueling and Iberia, which have introduced mobile boarding passes for the Pebble Smartwatch, Sony’s Smartwatch 2, and Samsung smartwatch Gear 2.
AirBerlin’s updated iPhone app, released today, sends a digital boarding pass to flyers’ smartwatch. Passengers can shake their wrist to display the barcode as well as access a quick overview of their departure time, gate number and seat.
“This option makes opening the boarding pass on the iPhone or even searching for the paper pass in your purse a thing of the past,” says André Rahn, senior vice president of marketing at airberlin.
Spanish carrier Iberia also announced its new smartwatch app today. Boarding passes will be automatically sent to flyers’ smartwatches once synchronized with their smartphones.
The announcement comes one month after Vueling, another airline under Iberia’s parent IAG, introduced its partnership with Sony and launch of its wearable boarding pass available on Sony’s SmartWatch 2.
Earlier this year Virgin Atlantic starting equipping its concierge staff with Google Glass and Sony SmartWatches in an effort to deliver a more personalized passenger experience. It has yet to release a wearable app for flyers.
Smartwatches are also a possibility for the SPG app. Senior vice president of SPG and digital, Chris Holdren, tells Skift that the team is very focused on wearables.