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In Flight Entertainment

Virtual Reality Makes It to First Class

Virtual Reality Makes It to First Class
Joe Cortez

British Airways is taking virtual reality to a bold new world: in-flight entertainment. On select flights between its London hub and New York, first-class travelers can experience movies and other programs in 2D, 3D or in virtual reality.

Many people use virtual reality to simulate flying, but British Airways wants to take that notion in a completely different direction. The flag carrier announced they are running a virtual reality in-flight entertainment trial for their first-class cabin.

The virtual reality headset in first class will be available on select flights of British Airways Flight 117, from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Seats aboard this flight can be outfitted with the SkyLights AlloSky virtual reality headset. SkyLights was supported by International Airline Group’s startup accelerator, Hangar 51.

According to British Airways, virtual reality entertainment can work in any position, including upright and laying down on a flatbed. Passengers can experience their entertainment in 360-degree immersion. Along with the standard fare of movies and music, the airline also developed a series of guided meditations and sound therapy to help those who are afraid of flying.

Although British Airways is optimistic about the future of virtual reality for in-flight entertainment, FlyerTalkers give the announcement a mixed review. While some are excited about the possibilities it brings, others are concerned about the actual passenger experience.

“Having tried virtual reality a few times for professional purposes, many situations can be disorientating or even nauseating,” FlyerTalker orbitmic writes on the forums. “I really hope they pick carefully or it’s one of those good ideas on paper that might prove quite counterproductive.”

“As a home VR user…I am quite excited about this tech making its way into cabins,” Flyerstarter opines on the forums. “[Virtual reality] has the potential to be a game changer against standard IFE. Shame it’s not trialing on more routes.”

For those who want to try virtual reality in the air, your time to book a flight in British Airways first is limited. The airline will only run the experiment until the end of 2019.

How do you feel about virtual reality in the air? Make your voice heard on the FlyerTalk Forums!


[Featured Image: British Airways]

View Comments (3)


  1. Sydneyberlin

    August 15, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    Oh dear, BA. Of course they’d be the first airline to hand out crappy “virtual” reality glasses rather than investing into the real reality of having one of the weakest First classes around.

    Get rid of your stupid scones and serve a proper second meal, that’s what would do the trick!

  2. rjg319

    August 16, 2019 at 8:07 am

    Maybe they will give us a virtual reality experience of a true first class cabin experience?

  3. gotinfluence

    August 16, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Call of Duty VR in 1st class – right side seats vs. left. How entertaining that would be for the economy passengers.

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