Immersive VR 'heading to an aeroplane cabin near you'
Virtual reality will one day be used to entertain all air passengers and sell them duty-free products, according to experts.
VR is currently limited to customers paying top-dollar for flights on certain airlines, but it could be coming to an economy class near you soon.
"VR is already being used to offer in-flight entertainment,” says Joakim Everstin, head of innovation at global airline solutions company Sabre.
“Australian carrier Qantas introduced it last year in its first class cabins to offer passengers a range of popular content and virtual reality tours that ‘showcase the delights’ of the airline’s destinations.
“VR definitely has a place in the in-flight entertainment world. The challenge at the moment is creating the content for it – this can be expensive as VR is still a new tool.
“That’s why it’s currently limited to the luxury end of the market.
“However, in future, VR could be an effective and exciting way for airlines to entertain and communicate with passengers during flight in a truly immersive way.”
Colin Stewart, the UK director at Spanish airline Air Europa, believes that VR has great potential in selling products.
“I think it will have a place as an in-flight retail tool in the future,” he says. “For example, virtual reality headsets could be offered to passengers whilst they are flying as a way to experience and then purchase products such as duty free items.
“Passengers might also be able to browse and experience things to do at their destinations and then purchase them through applications whilst still onboard.
“Airlines are always looking for ways to connect with and entertain their passengers, so VR could be an effective means to offer new experiences and add value to their passengers’ experiences.”