Robot Gets Paid Seat in Coach Class

  • Athena, with passport, at LAX

Robot gets paid seat in coach class (and enjoys it).

This happened a couple of weeks ago and made some introductory rounds very briefly on various sites. Filed under light-hearted, it’s one of those oddities that is getting some attention. Prearranged attention for robotic researchers Alexander Herzog and Jeannette Bohg…

It took them six months, contacting Lufthansa airlines in advance and even arranging for a passport for “Athena“, as the robot is named. The TSA too was notified in advance.

So why did a humanoid bother getting an airplane seat (actually it was two seats…)? It cost less for the robot to fly as a passenger than to be crated and sent via the cargo hold!

Despite the publicity garnered at LAX, it was not a mere publicity stunt, and quite nicely, Athena, dressed in a T-shirt and red Converse sneakers and programmed to flash a smile a people approached, was one welcome passenger!

Find out more about Athena and see all of the photos at the following sources:

Washington PostWhy a 6-foot-2 robot found itself cramped in coach on an 11-hour flight

Daily Mail OnlineThe robot that’s going on HOLIDAY! Athena becomes the first robot to buy a seat on a passenger plane – and ‘she’ even has her own passport” — video

LAX on Twitter “‘Athena’ is checking in for her seat aboard @lufthansa on her way to Germany! [PIC]. Have you seen her yet?”



News to Share sources noted and linked in our brief above.