Following our passion for innovation. Exploring new and undiscovered trends in the travel industry, and beyond. Ungrounded, by British Airways.

British Airways opens APIs, invites developers to innovate

Application-programing interfaces, or APIs, are programming instructions that allow different programs to communicate with one another. With British Airways’ innovative open API program, developers can access a wealth of backend programming data, and – most importantly – utilize it to build new applications and improve travel technology for all.

Hear Business & Tech Manager Jim Austin introduce British Airways’ first iteration of open API and reveal what data will be available to developers in the near future.

The Happiness Blanket: Technology Meant to Make You Smile

British Airways is passionate about our customers’ wellbeing. So passionate, that we pioneered wearable technology to put the customer experience of flying on our aircraft to the test.

We call it the Happiness Blanket, a device that measures the brain’s electrical fluctuations and identifies how the wearer is feeling inflight. The information is relayed via Bluetooth to fiber optics woven into a traveller’s blanket, which indicate his or her state of wellbeing, ranging from stressed to calm and relaxed.

The Happiness Blanket was beta tested on flights between London and New York across all cabins.  The blankets’ visual cues helped staff see how passengers were feeling throughout the flight and provide a tailored service for each traveller. 

Happiness Blankets are an early example of British Airways’ commitment to innovation in technology and customer service.  For British Airways customers, inventive travel experiences may be right around the (cabin) corner.

Eating like a Local is Easier than You Thought
Humans have been sharing meals since the beginning of time. Now, thanks to technology, you can make this age-old tradition a part of your next vacation.
A new school of food entrepreneurs is using technology to pioneer peer-to-peer dining, a connecting experience that unites traveling guests with culinary hosts. Instead of dining out only at restaurants in a new city, travelers can eat with locals who invite them over for a home-cooked meal.
Interested in sharing a meal at your next destination? Check out EatWith, a startup active in 30 different countries, or Meal Sharing, a dining community with 450 participating cities. Both businesses celebrate dining as a tool to create meaningful travel experiences.
“Technology helps facilitate serendipity,” Meal Sharing founder Jay Savsani says. Any adventurous diners agree?

Eating like a Local is Easier than You Thought

Humans have been sharing meals since the beginning of time. Now, thanks to technology, you can make this age-old tradition a part of your next vacation.

A new school of food entrepreneurs is using technology to pioneer peer-to-peer dining, a connecting experience that unites traveling guests with culinary hosts. Instead of dining out only at restaurants in a new city, travelers can eat with locals who invite them over for a home-cooked meal.

Interested in sharing a meal at your next destination? Check out EatWith, a startup active in 30 different countries, or Meal Sharing, a dining community with 450 participating cities. Both businesses celebrate dining as a tool to create meaningful travel experiences.

“Technology helps facilitate serendipity,” Meal Sharing founder Jay Savsani says. Any adventurous diners agree?

British Airways’ latest use of biometric technology.

Learn how biometric technologies are advancing and changing the way we travel. British Airways’ Raoul Cooper discusses how biometric security systems are being used today and how they will improve the travel experience at airports around the world in the not so distant future.

JetPac uses shared images to help plan your next adventure.

These clever city-guide apps process millions of public Instagram photos from around the world, to offer users travel recommendations tailored to their interests.  Instead of reading about the destination, you can get a visual sense of a place and the people who go there.

These visual guides cover millions of venues in 5,000 cities worldwide.  Find out more from Jetpac CEO Julian Green.

Vayable: An online travel planner for personal experiences.

We love anything that’ll enrich our trips. Such as Vayable—a travel planning service that lets you book personalized adventures with real people. Your contact is a local host at your destination who organizes and guides your travel adventure. That way you can plan the kind of unique experience you really want.

Founder and CEO Jamie Wong describes the origin, current status and future of Vayable. 

FlightCar: Share Your Car, Make Some Money.
Imagine leaving your car at the airport, and having it washed, detailed, and fueled by the time you get back—all while earning you a bit of cash. It could be a reality with companies like FlightCar. 
But there’s a catch: you have to rent it out to a fellow traveler, whom you’ve never met.
Currently available in Boston, San Francisco, and LA, FlightCar is a peer-to-peer car sharing service, fashioned after RelayRides, Getaround and Lyft, but focused on the airport experience.
Your car is insured for up to $1 million, renters are pre-screened and they wash the car before picking you back up. 

So, how would you feel about renting your car out while you’re away?

FlightCar: Share Your Car, Make Some Money.

Imagine leaving your car at the airport, and having it washed, detailed, and fueled by the time you get back—all while earning you a bit of cash. It could be a reality with companies like FlightCar

But there’s a catch: you have to rent it out to a fellow traveler, whom you’ve never met.

Currently available in Boston, San Francisco, and LA, FlightCar is a peer-to-peer car sharing service, fashioned after RelayRides, Getaround and Lyft, but focused on the airport experience.

Your car is insured for up to $1 million, renters are pre-screened and they wash the car before picking you back up. 

So, how would you feel about renting your car out while you’re away?

Rocketspace: Accelerating the growth of startups. 

New companies are multiplying because of innovative technology—but everyone needs to learn how to succeed. That’s where Rocketspace steps in, helping fast-growing, funded tech startups by creating an all-encompassing work environment for them to flourish in. Rocketspace has also branched out and created RocketU to target talent to work in these startups.

Learn more about Duncan Logan and his company, Rocketspace.

What’s new in travel innovation? Hear from Duncan Logan of Rocketspace.

There’s been an explosion of online apps in the travel management sector that seem to effortlessly coordinate entire vacations for you. And savvy travelers appreciate these tech updates. But what’s next? Find out from Duncan Logan, founder of Rocketspace.

Learn more about Rocketspace by watching this video.

A British Airways innovation: Digital Bag Tags

Airline luggage tags can be a hassle. They need to be printed (2.95 billion tags are printed annually – that’s a lot of trees).  And, they need to be manually scanned. That’s why we’ve been testing digital bag tags for permanent use on luggage. 

Find out how they’ll increase speed and convenience of travel in a BIG way.

To learn more, click here.

Beacons in a Backpack: an UnGrounded idea comes to life 

“Beacons in a Backpack” was an UnGrounded winning concept that’s now a true startup. Travelers take a backpack full of technology into the remotest areas of the earth and create hotspots, which in turn, expands connectivity worldwide.

British Airways’ Glenn Morgan walks us through how this initiative came about and what’s next for the team.

The Not-So-Little Details
For travelers looking to escape the cold winter weather, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference. That’s why Frankfurt Airport introduced their Winter Coat Storage service.
Frankfurt natives traveling to warmer climates between the months of October and April can store their bulky winter coats at the airport for only 0.50 EUR per day. This convenient service proves that above technology, understanding your customer is the key to innovation.

The Not-So-Little Details

For travelers looking to escape the cold winter weather, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference. That’s why Frankfurt Airport introduced their Winter Coat Storage service.

Frankfurt natives traveling to warmer climates between the months of October and April can store their bulky winter coats at the airport for only 0.50 EUR per day. This convenient service proves that above technology, understanding your customer is the key to innovation.

Inside UnGrounded: The first innovation lab at 30,000 feet

What was it like on the UnGrounded flight? Top innovators from all around the world spent 11 hours together in the air, concentrating on global problems they normally wouldn’t go about solving. This incredible flight experience spurred countless ideas, such as Beacons in a Backpack.

Hear from a few of our innovators about how they took on the challenge of bridging the social and technological divide, and get the latest on their progress since then.

Can Vacationing Change the World?
Rather than supporting only large chain hotels and well-travelled restaurants on your vacation, why not put much of your travel budget directly back into the community you’re visiting?
Only Six Degrees is setting out to do just that, with unique travel packages to Cambodia, Tanzania, and even Kilimanjaro. 

With a surprisingly large percentage of the package cost and a donation going straight to your local guides, operators, hotels and community-based projects, you can feel even better about your trip.
Learn more

Can Vacationing Change the World?

Rather than supporting only large chain hotels and well-travelled restaurants on your vacation, why not put much of your travel budget directly back into the community you’re visiting?

Only Six Degrees is setting out to do just that, with unique travel packages to Cambodia, Tanzania, and even Kilimanjaro. 

With a surprisingly large percentage of the package cost and a donation going straight to your local guides, operators, hotels and community-based projects, you can feel even better about your trip.

Learn more

Adding More Air to the Airline Industry 
The luggage industry might have just stumbled upon its newest innovation—air. The winner of the 2013 Airbus Fly Your Idea competition were the Brazilian design students who developed a luggage loading system with air cushion technology. 
Like an air hockey table, this cargo solution would allow baggage handlers to quickly and safely slide luggage on and off planes, cutting the time travelers would have to wait to receive their bags.
Read more

Adding More Air to the Airline Industry

The luggage industry might have just stumbled upon its newest innovation—air. The winner of the 2013 Airbus Fly Your Idea competition were the Brazilian design students who developed a luggage loading system with air cushion technology.

Like an air hockey table, this cargo solution would allow baggage handlers to quickly and safely slide luggage on and off planes, cutting the time travelers would have to wait to receive their bags.

Read more