Corporate Traveller

The end of the flight attendant call button?

Air passengers may soon be able to use their smartphone to turn on the reading light, order food and check if the toilet is free thanks to a new smart technology being trialed by Boeing. 

An interior of an aircraft dubbed a 'smart cabin' has been created where chips are embedded near the features passengers utilise. The technology, called vCabin, connects smart devices to the features through these small chips embedded in the aircraft. 

This means they don't need Wi-Fi and the features are therefore secure and not connected to flight-critical airplane systems or the traditional in-flight entertainment system. It also means cabin crew can use it to offer a more personalised service by identifying frequent flyers including exact preferences. 

"We're really thinking about pushing the boundaries past what we know today," said Dan Bittner, product development lead engineer at Boeing.

"That's really what this vCabin tool is about — pushing that boundary and accelerating the technology through rapid demonstration and development."