Finally, here’s some augmented reality that’s somewhat useful.
Last month, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines released a hand bag check to see what you can bring onto the plane — before you lug your stuff to the airport.
Using the KLM app, you can check the dimensions of your baggage to see if it’s the correct size for carry-on or for checking. You open the app, load up the AR bag-checker, and a virtual suitcase appears that you can scan over your actual piece of luggage to see if it fits within the blue KLM suitcase.
Starting Tuesday, the same mixed-reality bag check is also available on the Messenger app, making this maybe the only situation in which you’d want to use Messenger to talk to a brand.
AR tends to get applied to gimmicky marketing experiences, like Air New Zealand’s recent pop-up in downtown Chicago that showed what New Zealand is like through AR to promote its new route, or to push e-commerce (Snapchat is using AR to let users shop on Amazon through the camera app). This one is more aligned with utility. The bag-measuring feature is similar to the Measure app on iOS, which puts a virtual ruler on real-life objects.
KLM seems to have added the AR feature as a way to draw attention to its app, which lets you book your flight or store your e-ticket. Now the company’s using the same AR tool through its business Messenger app. Facebook announced that some brands would be able to use AR through the platform back in May. After who-knows-how-many passengers asked about luggage size limits, the company is using the Messenger and in-app AR experience to pretty much make a game out of checking your baggage size.
The airline has previously dabbled in AR for less-than-useful purposes, like sharing a 360-degree view of its Dreamliner aircraft. (I mean, it veers into cool, but it’s not that handy.)
While the luggage tool is mostly a guide and doesn’t jump you through airport security or anything, it’s still one of the most helpful AR uses we’ve seen.
UPDATE: Oct. 2, 2018, 11:37 a.m. PDTThe travel booking platform Kayak also has a baggage-measuring tool using AR on your smartphone. Released last month, the tool is similar to the KLM one (and released about a week later) and on the Kayak app. The Kayak bag check compares your real luggage to size requirements across all airlines.
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