British Airways to Trial Virtual Reality Headsets for Some Passengers

Aug 14, 2019

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British Airways is kicking its inflight entertainment offering up a notch. On Wednesday, the British flag carrier announced that it was set to introduce virtual reality headsets on select flights.

The VR headsets will be trialled until the end of 2019 and will be available on select flights in first class from London Heathrow (LHR) to New York (JFK). Specifically, the headsets will be available on BA Flight 117, which departs LHR at 8:25am and arrives in NYC at 11:05am. First class passengers who elect to try out the VR headsets will be able to choose from a selection of films, documentaries and travel programmes either in 2D, 3D or in 360°.

LONDON, UK: British Airways will be bringing First customers a 3D cinema in the skies through virtual reality headsets on select flights, photographed at London Heathrow on 25 July 2019 (Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

The VR headsets are made by AlloSky and designed by SkyLights, an American-French company, and allow passengers to watch content in the mode of their choosing and even when lying fully flat in the first-class bed. Additionally, BA says that it’s worked with experts to choose therapeutic programmes, such as guided meditation and sound therapy, to help passengers who have a fear of flying.

While BA is the first UK airline to experiment with VR technology in its IFE offering, it’s not the first airline globally to do so. The tech has been utilised by Air France’s now-defunct Joon, Alaska Airlines and Iberia, among others.

BA has used VR technology in some of its on-the-ground operations in the past, such as its VR tour of the Club World cabin in Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

Photos by Nick Morrish/British Airways.

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