Posted on: 27 April 2015 by Mark Howells
Aerospace Engineering students Mohamed Shabaan, Mostafa Sohdy Abdelfattah, Ahmed Shabaan and Abdelrahman Awad – AKA Team FlyBoys from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada – have come up with a passenger experience concept named LOOPIES for the Airbus Fly Your Ideas competition with the aim of informing, guiding and entertaining passengers throughout their entire journey.
LOOPIES stands for ‘Leading On-flight & On-ground Passenger Informing & Entertainment Systems.’ The concept is huge, so Inflight-Online.com has chosen to illustrate how it affects the passenger chronologically throughout their journey.
Shabaan explains LOOPIES works in conjunction with a radio frequency identification (RFID) bracelet. “Conventional check-in sees you get a boarding pass after you check in and hand over your passport.
We want to make this process completely self-service. With LOOPIES, a passenger would go to a kiosk and type in their personal information and flight details. After that, a machine would dispense them an RFID bracelet.
“It’s like contactless card payments. Rather than having to keep getting out their boarding pass, passengers can tap their RFID bracelet on a LOOPIES stand, which will identify them immediately. “This should make movement throughout the airport much quicker. When you walk through Heathrow today, you see big screens displaying about 30 or 40 flights, but LOOPIES would be more personal. Tapping your bracelet on a LOOPIES stand would bring up information relevant only to you. For example, if you’re lost there could be a map leading you to your gate.“Once you tap the LOOPIES screen at the gate it also comes up with a diagram to show the passenger where their seat is on the aircraft as well as the time estimated until boarding and take-off, so they have a sense of where they’re going before they board.”
Team FlyBoys estimates that Heathrow alone would need 1,000 LOOPIES displays. This seems like a large number, but the LOOPIES solution would need far more bracelets, as the FlyBoys have designed them to be disposable. “It’s more cost effective because we don’t have to consider the wages necessary to process them all back and it’s less stressful for the passenger if they don’t have to remember to bring the bracelet with them every time they travel or giving it back to the airport. Also, it’s a nice souvenir.
“Every passenger will have his own account online which will always be there; you’ll just have a different identification number for each flight. One of the most valuable assets of the LOOPIES system is the data, which can track what passengers want to do. It could be sold to airlines, airports or even advertising companies.”
The basic function of LOOPIES is practical, but for Round Two of the Airbus Fly Your Ideas competition, the team introduced an entertainment aspect to the LOOPIES screen, to help passengers while away time in the airport in an interactive way. “That’s why we created SkyCall, where you can talk with someone else face to face around the world,” said Shabaan.
“Otherwise, it’s all in the bracelet. First of all, it will tell you there’s fifteen minutes until boarding ends by vibrating. Or if there’s something wrong with the flight it tells you to go to the nearest LOOPIES stand for more information,” he adds.
“The airline usually boards business class passengers first, so at this point the lighting on the bracelets of business class passengers would go green, meaning they’re free to board. Once they’re on the aircraft, instead of having a flight attendant waving them left or right, we would design LED lighting on the aircraft to match the colour of the bracelet signalling which way to go.”
That’s the overall gist, but revenue-building is where the FlyBoys team really impress. “Our report projects we would make $584m for airlines thanks to an increased flow of passengers as a result of LOOPIES,” Awad notes. “Every hour there are two aircrafts sitting at the gate. LOOPIES plans to be able to clear a minimum of 2.7 aircraft in that time, meaning more than 5 aircraft can take off every two hours instead of the previous four.”
This address the question of whether the industry is already moving towards this kind of set-up with iBeacons in the airport: The FlyBoys think LOOPIES goes further. Shabaan concludes, “We like to think of LOOPIES as a social network made for airports, where every passenger has his own unique account and each account has its own unique feed of information and entertainment.”