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Brief Published: 3 Feb 2015

Qantas Trials In-Flight Virtual Reality

Qantas to trial virtual reality headsets

Australian airline Qantas has partnered with South Korean electronics brand Samsung to trial virtual reality (VR) headsets on board select flights.

The three-month trial, which will begin in March 2015, will be available to first-class passengers on certain flights between Australia and Los Angeles.

The trial is designed to enhance the airline's inflight entertainment offer. It's not yet clear how much content will be available for use with the Samsung Gear VR headsets. However, according to Qantas group executive Olivia Wirth, users will be able to watch movies, as well as promotional material such as destination guides and virtual tours of airline lounges. The airline is also working with US-based VR production company Jaunt to create additional compatible content.

Qantas is the first commercial airline to trial the technology, but European aircraft manufacturer Airbus and the UK's University of Nottingham are both working on VR helmets specifically for in-flight use.

New technologies – from sound-enhanced menus to mood-detecting blankets – are being used to enrich the in-flight experience. For further insight into the future of in-flight entertainment, see Future Service: In-Transit Innovation.

For more on the use of VR in marketing, see Marriott's 4D Travel Experience, Rewiring Advertising and Sci-Fi Marketing. Also look out for our upcoming coverage of the Sundance Film Festival for more on the potential of VR entertainment.