Feature: 3d maps

BY RICHARD WILLIAMS

Looking for a moving map with a difference? Check out FlightPath3D, an immersive inflight experience with great potential for generating ancillary revenue, says Richard Williams

Forget onboard maps with just aircraft speed and distance to destination, now FlightPath3D is offering an immersive inflight experience with 10 or more views from the aircraft including from the cockpit, windows on either side and from above. And the view can be fully customised to depict each airline customer’s full livery.

An optimised tablet version also uses augmented reality to create a ‘glass plane’ mode showing views through the shell of the aircraft in any direction, complete with caption information for rivers, mountains and other landscape features, plus distance to destination and direction indicators.

More than that, however, is the potential to drill down to the ground for information on cities and points of interest from airports to restaurants, hotels, museums, galleries, even monuments and stadiums.

From its startup in 2012, FlightPath has made a big dent in the moving map market. Its launch customer was Norwegian Airlines three years ago, and it has since added Air France/KLM and Virgin Atlantic. Company founder Boris Veksler expects to have over 20 airline customers by the end of the year.

A kids’ version is being developed too showing the animals that live in the landscape below plus national flags and the popular local sports.

A further development, launched at APEX Expo, is Travel Planner, which has the potential to transform ancillary revenue for the inflight market. The FlightPath developers have looked at the whole air journey and decided that the most stressful part is the onward journey to your hotel or home. Travel Planner can tell you how long your transit through the airport will take, and how long your journey to your final destination will be, based on real-time traffic reports and local conditions.

It will use your frequent flyer details to know whether you have bags to pick up, and will pre-order you an Uber taxi to take you home, with correct fare and journey time.

The Uber booking element offers monetising potential for the airlines and can be extended to cover all the other elements in the destination guide such as hotel, restaurant, gallery tickets, hire car, or opera tickets, all inflight.

A partnership with a tour bus company in San Francisco has also created a virtual tour of the city which can be viewed onboard. Passengers can enjoy the virtual tour for no cost but the airline gets a share of the revenue if the passenger then books a tour.

FlightPath’s president, Duncan Jackson, says: “Generating ancillary revenue is easy. Just provide services that are timely, relevant and add value for passengers.”