Because in-flight screens are passe’ – Alaska airlines offers VR headsets to first class passengers

The in-flight entertainment systems have improved a lot over the years, but the tiny screens can never provide the enjoyable watching experience to keep one distracted on long-haul flights. That’s where VR headsets can make a huge difference and make in-flight entertainment truly immersive. Alaska Airlines announced on Monday that it will soon add VR headsets on a trial run for first-class passengers on its Seattle-Boston and Boston-San Diego routes. The Seattle-based airline partnered with SkyLights, a French-American immersive-media company, to bring VR headsets and noise-canceling headphone to first class customers on their flights. The VR headsets will offer 3D and 360-degree films, along with 2D movies for the passengers who might get motion sickness. “These trials will help us understand how comfortable our guests are using the technology, and let our flight attendants share feedback about its impact to our in-flight service flow,” David Scotland, an Alaska Airlines rep, said in the official press release.

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The Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered device will offer Full HD resolution per eye and display content from its partners 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers and EIM. Passengers will also be able to choose from short VR films, focusing on freediving, classical music and acrobatics, especially chosen for in-flight viewing. Alaska Airlines is not the first to experiment with VR headsets. Qantas was the first to equip some flights with Samsung’s Gear VR in 2015, and SkyLight’s VR headsets are already being trialed by Emirates, Etihad, and Air France, among other international carriers. However, Alaska Airlines said that it’s the “first airline in North America to trial virtual reality headsets as an in-flight entertainment device.”


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