Samsung Gear VR headsets will be offered to Quantas first class travellers on some of the airline’s international flights, making Quantas the first airline to offer a virtual reality entertainment experience 40,000 feet in the air.
British Airways previously led in the airline tech stakes, piloting Google Glass in its first class lounge. Customer assistants wore the now defunct headgear to help with flight queries and suggest hotels and tourist spots for passengers to visit following their flight. It remains to be seen whether Google will release a second batch of Google Glass for enterprise, after it took the infamous wearable off the shelves this year.
Virtual reality is increasingly appearing in the tourism and leisure industry as a means for marketing and to improve customer experience. The National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner recently discussed how technologies like Oculus Rift could be used by fans sitting courtside so they could interact with a game.
Quantas' highest-paying passengers, however, will be able to watch blockbuster films and experience virtual tours while they fly.
The airline's marketing executive Olivia Wirth said: "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.”
“From an inflight entertainment perspective, it’s an industry first. Qantas is committed to being at the forefront of innovation to give our passengers the very best and latest in-flight experiences, like accessing the virtual worlds of their favourite Hollywood blockbusters from the comfort of their seat 40,000 feet above the ground."