Virtual reality seat maps? NDC goes leftfield

Airlines Technology has worked up a proof of concept which could allow airlines to sell assigned seats via a virtual reality (VR) seatmap, all made possible thanks to IATA’s NDC.

The business has IATA NDC Capable Level III certification and is part of the Travel StartUps Incubator portfolio.

Paras Kumar, co-founder, explained that VR seatmap selection “is technically possible because of NDC, as we can pull out the seatmap of any airline (along with the aircraft model details) in an NDC standardized way.”

Accessing the NDC seat availability and cabin layout APIs are the source for the data, and it has worked with London-based designers Studio Zero to build the VR and visual component.

Kumar is confident that the idea has legs for both desktop and mobile airlines bookings. For mobile, the idea could develop to the point where bookers could use a VR headset to walk around the cabin and select seats accordingly.

Here’s a YouTube video of the proof of concept as imagined for desktop:

Whether or not this proof of concept ends up in production is a moot point – it is after all a proof of concept. But is a sign of some of the unusual concepts and applications that the startup community is developing around NDC.

It also worth noting that when IATA first mentioned NDC in 2012, virtual reality was in its infancy, very much on the periphery of tech in general and travel in particular. When IATA boss Tony Tyler said at the time that NDC would herald “the next revolution in airline retailing” ideas like this were probably not on his radar.

Related reading:
Airlines Technology StartUp Pitch (Nov16)

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Martin Cowen

About the Writer :: Martin Cowen

Martin Cowen is contributing editor for tnooz and is based in the UK. Besides reporting and editing, he also oversees our sponsored content initiative and works directly with clients to produce articles and reports. For the past several years he has worked as a freelance writer, specialising in B2B distribution and technology. Before freelancing, from 2000-2008, he was launch editor for, the first online-only B2B daily news service for the UK travel sector.



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  1. Reno

    Interesting concept, like the SAS display, Paras could your product develop in such a way that using VR the passenger can select the seat by virtually sitting on it 🙂 too much to ask..

    • Paras Kumar

      Thanks Reno. Absolutely yes. The person would be able to select his/her favourite seat just by visualizing the aircraft interior. This is all possible now because of NDC standardization.

  2. Atul Bhabal

    Great going AT… it’s really appreciate by whole world if you will come with the polished product of this..

  3. Nicolas Hauviller

    @Bruce: Would you prefer something similar to what S.A.S. implemented? See:

    We can argue it’s not 3D, at the same time it’s more than 2D

  4. Bruce Sweigert

    I’m not seeing the real advantage over a 2D representation. At least for me, my main concern for seating is my distance from either the galley or the lavs. Granted, most airlines don’t provide a good representation of the exact distances, but that’s more of a matter of the lousy maps they use in the first place. An improved 2D representation, or a lucky photo from would suit me just fine.

  5. Attention All Passengers

    Awful, a horrible (semi-automated) rendition. It does not even depict an actual aircraft cabin. Seriously ????

  6. Nicolas Hauviller

    Interesting. This reminds me the Panoramic Shopping POC that Amadeus showcased in 2014:

    • Paras Kumar

      Thanks Nicolas. Yes this sounds similar to that. Only difference I would say here is we used NDC standard in order to read the seatmap runtime. If this looks something to your interest then let me know as we are already connected with Amadeus.


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