Airlines have been trialling virtual reality (VR) entertainment onboard long-haul flights for a number of years, with the likes of Spain’s Iberia using Inflight VR’s platform in conjunction with Pico Goblin 2 headsets for a mixed entertainment offering. This week British Airways (BA) has announced a limited rollout of SkyLights VR system AlloSky, offering onboard 3D cinema content.
The AlloSky headset is somewhat different from standalone VR devices like Oculus Go in that it offers 3DoF movie experiences only, rather than any other videogames or apps. The headset features a lightweight design (250g), 1080p resolution per eye, dioptric correction and is Bluetooth/WiFi enabled.
Being the first British airline to offer this option, BA will supply the new service to First Class customers flying select BA117 flights from London Heathrow to New York JFK from now until the end of 2019. They’ll be able to view a selection of award-winning films, documentaries and travel programmes in 2D, 3D or 360° formats. These can include films such as Aquaman, Crazy Rich Asians, ASTEROIDS!, Melita and many more.
“We are always looking at the latest technology to enhance our customers’ experience on the ground and in the air,” said Sajida Ismail, Head of Inflight Product at British Airways, in a statement. “Virtual reality has the power to revolutionise in-flight entertainment and we’re really excited to trial these new glasses as they should create a unique and memorable journey for our First customers”.
SkyLights is a former alumni of British Airways’ parent company IAG’s Hangar 51 start-up accelerator programme. This addition continues on from an earlier trial of the technology at Heathrow Terminal 5, giving customers a glimpse of the Club World cabin.
Additionally, because 2019 is BA’s centenary year the airline has produced BA 2119: Flight of the Future, an exhibition being held at London’s Saatchi Gallery throughout August. Visitors will be able to see what aviation could look like in the future as well as a VR experience called Fly, tracing humanities relationship to flying from Leonardo da Vinci and his ornithopter to the Wright Brothers’ success on Kitty Hawk.
As further development’s towards expanding VR as inflight entertainment continues, VRFocus will keep you updated.