Bored to death on those ultra-long flights that seem to go one forever? Well, British Airways is trying to make things a little bit nicer.
The British carrier has partnered with SkyLights to offer passengers their own 3D cinema in the skies as the airline trials a virtual reality (VR) headset, TTG Asia reported.
From now till end 2019, customers travelling on select flights in first class from London Heathrow to New York JFK will be able to enjoy a selection of award-winning films, documentaries and travel programmes in 2D, 3D or 360-degree formats, the report said.
The AlloSky headsets from VR provider SkyLights, a former alumni of British Airways’ parent company IAG’s Hangar 51 startup accelerator programme, allow customers to fully immerse themselves in 3D view regardless of their seating position.
British Airways said it is the first UK airline to trial the technology after working with experts to select a range of therapeutic programmes, including guided meditation and sound therapy, specifically designed for customers who have a fear of flying.
However, British Airways isn’t the first airline to offer VR. A few years ago, Qantas used Samsung headsets to test virtual reality on their aircraft. And in 2018, Lufthansa launched its VR Moving Map, offering passengers the chance to “experience” excursions that are available on the ground.
Sajida Ismail, head of inflight product at British Airways, said that “VR has the power to revolutionize inflight entertainment” as the airline looks to enhance the customer journey both on the ground and in the air, the report said.
Earlier this year, British Airways trialed the technology at Heathrow Terminal 5, giving customers a glimpse of the Club World cabin through VR.
British Airways said it is investing £6.5 billion (US$7.8 billion) on airline amenities over five years, including the installation of Wi-Fi and power in every aircraft seat, fitting 128 longhaul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft.
The airline recently introduced its Club Suite, a new business class seat with direct aisle access.