Qantas has found a new way to help passengers fill in the time on long-haul flights, trialing virtual reality headsets with its first class passengers.
The Samsung Gear VR headsets will be available as part of a three-month trial, with a couple in the Sydney and Melbourne International First Lounges and the rest in first class cabins on A380 flights from those capitals to Los Angeles. They’ll showcase network destinations, new Qantas products and inflight blockbuster movies. Galaxy Note 4 handsets are also part of the tech deal with Samsung Australia.
Qantas marketing head Olivia Wirth said the technology was an airline industry first that will open up new worlds for passengers.
The airline is working with production company Jaunt to develop and produce the live-action content, including destination footage. Tourism NT has also signed on with Qantas to create a special 3D experience from Kakadu National Park.
“Whether the user wants a virtual tour of our new Los Angeles First Lounge or experience an A380 landing from the tarmac, this technology gives us a completely new way to connect with our customers,” Wirth said. “It’s also a fantastic tool to feature our network’s destinations, inspiring travel and promoting tourism.”
Since first class is a vastly different reality to the experience for most passengers down the back of the plane, perhaps Qantas should investigate VR headsets for economy passengers to imagine what it must be like to be drinking 2000 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill brut champagne on a flatbed up the pointy end.
The Samsung Gear VR is due to be released in Australia shortly, priced at about £130.
This article first appeared in Business Insider