Is British Airways’ New Idea Tough To Swallow?

Stew 1: 27C is feeling a bit hungry.

Stew 2: Oh my, I will rush over there with a delightful raspberry scone immediately.

Fantasy? Not if British Airways gets its way.

British Airways is looking to automate its service by getting passengers to swallow a pill that will communicate your needs to their crew.

British Airways is investigating getting passengers to swallow ‘digital pills’ that will tell flight staff if they are feeling comfortable.

The ‘ingestible sensors’ will be able to beam wirelessly health information from inside a customer’s body – and be used to help ensure travellers suffer minimal jet-lag.

The information could be used to indicate if a passenger is awake, asleep, hungry, nervous, hot, cold or uncomfortable.

Seriously? Apparently so.

The idea is to adapt technology currently in use in hospitals which, for instance, monitors whether patients take their pills so that Nurse Ratched cabin crew can stay up to speed with everyone onboard. This seems to go to great lengths to make sure customers don’t press the flight attendant call button.

Of course, this may just be for future reference, or Ultra First Class passengers who pay for the joy of having some gadget enter their colon so their every whim and need can be immediately indulged, while the riff raff are charged extra for water.

Great idea or bitter pill? Or just too creepy? Ain’t tech wonderful?

22 thoughts on “Is British Airways’ New Idea Tough To Swallow?

  1. albeed

    I wonder if this pill will also be used to notify the crew that there is a person in 2A who is about to become a homicidal maniac after waiting 3 hours on the tarmac for a flight path to open over the Atlantic? Will the remedy be overpowering and handcuffs or a triple shot of scotch?

  2. kushiro

    I would not want to be the attendant who has to go around retrieving the pills at the end of the flight.

    1. SHG Post author

      That’s exactly what I was thinking of, but then I went to the next level of sex discrimination and stopped cold.

  3. Frank


    HELL No.

    The security and privacy implications of this are staggering. This is taking “The internet of things” way too far.

  4. Patrick Maupin

    They won’t do anything proactive with the data from the pill during the flight, but it’ll make you feel better anyway because of the placebo effect.

    The pill will be a separate profit center for them. The airlines aim to emulate google — you will be product, not customer. The airline’s data may be even more valuable than google’s — high-quality biometric data conclusively tied to particular consumers through government-issued ID.

  5. losingtrader

    The problem is their first class liquors used to wash down the pill.
    No $800 Cognac or unlimited Krug champagne like Singapore.

      1. losingtrader

        Krug “Grande Cuvée” is easily the most expensive and sought after non-vintage champagne in existence.
        I’d view Dom Perignon 2003 simply as a rather nicely bottled and marketed cat urine.

  6. Liam McDonald

    Flight attendant: Excuse me sir, it seems your prostate is enlarged. Would you care for a pillow to sit on?

    Passenger: No, thanks. But if you could give me an enema after the inflight meal that would be great.

  7. delurking

    Note that both of these articles are based on the fact that BA filed a patent application. Thus, this is all BS. Companies file patent applications for all sorts of stupid stuff they have no intention of doing, just in case some other company does some minor thing that in some way infringes on one of the claims of the patent, so then they can demand money. Odds are, they filed the patent because some of the claims unrelated to the pill seem like they might be worth something someday, and once you are filing a patent you throw every stupid idea you have into it because you are paying to file anyway.

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