UAE: Emirates passengers can soon select seats, buy duty-free products in metaverse

Passengers will be able to view all the aviation processes, whether it’s in operations, training, or sales


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Wed 11 May 2022, 10:12 PM

Last updated: Fri 17 Jun 2022, 5:54 PM

Whether selecting a seat, shopping for duty-free products, touring the airport or even exploring hotel rooms, Emirates airline passengers can soon try and experience airline services in the metaverse.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates' chief operating officer , gave a preview of the impending technological changes while speaking to the media on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2022 on Wednesday.

He said a lot of digital and electronic things have been in use for many years but “it was used in a fragmented manner rather than in a cohesive manner. What we’re doing now is we’re going to be doing it in a more collective way using different means.”

“We’ve had single-use fragmented applications up to now. But with the metaverse and immersive technologies, you will be able to transform and view all the processes whether it’s in operations, training, or sales, making it interactive,” he added.

Speaking on the potential of new technologies, the COO said, "For example, you will experience entering an aircraft, looking at the economy, business or first class seats. You look at the seat and select it. Then you look at the menu and choose as per your liking. You then move forward to tour the airport. A passenger then goes to the duty-free area, and you buy your products while you're sitting at home and get them delivered to your house or your aircraft.

"At the travel destination, you know in advance which room with what view you want and check out the size of the room matching your preference. You pay more in case you want the room to be upgraded. So, metaverse has the unique ability to reach the customers and market it accordingly."

In a bid to provide customers a frictionless flying experience, he points out the aviation sector, in the next couple of years “will see a revolution in the way businesses are done. I don’t think companies will have a choice on this front. The companies who do not adopt these technologies will be left behind and they’ll find it difficult to keep pace with the world.”

Emirates airline, which has earned a reputation for its innovative products and customer-centric services, reinforced its plans to build “signature brand experiences in the metaverse”, alongside both collectible and utility-based NFTs.

Al Redha said these inventive collaborations with digital platforms will be revealed in greater details in the near future.


He cautioned that though new technology appeals, sometimes the advent of technological innovations can also amplify anxieties.

“This type of applications will require a different skill set and will require engaging with different technology companies to make sure we get the right thing done. Some organisations tend to fight back the new changes. But we shouldn’t do this, and we should not allow this. We need to ensure that people have the right mindset and skillset to take customers to a different level.”

Reflecting on how technology can be efficient and accelerate processes, he also emphasised that the “human touch” in customer service cannot be replicated by machines on certain service fronts.

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