Travellers leaving Birmingham Airport can be forgiven for thinking they’re about to board the Starship Enterprise when they see a member of staff ‘beaming down’ to offer them advice.
The latest recruit to the airport’s personnel is Lucy, the ‘virtual assistant’, who has taken up a position at the head of the passenger security entrance.
Far from being a real person though Lucy is a hologram programmed to give passengers important security information before they enter the departures search area.
The move is an innovative hi-tech response to ongoing confusion over what passengers are allowed - or not allowed - to take through with them.
Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport, said, ”The ban on liquids back in 2006 remains confusing for some passengers and although we’ve launched a number of initiatives to make the process clearer and less daunting, it has remained a problem for the security operation.
“By providing a clear message, we can speed up the search process and make the journey more enjoyable for our passengers, and judging by passenger reactions so far, I think she’s going to be a real hit.”
The initiative is part of the ‘one terminal’ project, which has seen the two terminals merge into one and the creation of a newly extended central search area.
In the coming weeks the airport will also launch free Wi-Fi throughout the terminal and a free travel information app for mobile phones.
The virtual assistant was created by queue management solutions provider, Tensator, based in Milton Keynes.