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Qantas First Airline to Offer Virtual Reality Headsets to Passengers

Australian airline Qantas has paired up with Samsung to start offering the company’s Gear VR headset to first-class passengers on long-haul flights. The airline becomes the first to offer a virtual reality entertainment experience inflight.

The virtual reality goggles will become available inside Qantas’ first class lounges in Sydney and Melbourne in mid-February and on select A380 flights between Australia and Los Angeles in the first-class cabin in March.

The Gear VR, produced with Oculus, operates using a Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Samsung designed an app for Qantas that provides exclusive content to the headsets.

Qantas sees VR experiences as a way to showcase the airline’s destinations and services to passengers.

Featured programming will include 360-degree views of Qantas’ first-class lounge at LAX, runway-side videos of the company’s massive A380 planes landing and a 3D look at Kakadu National Park, in Australia, the latter of which is being produced by Tourism Northern Territory. Qantas also is working with Jaunt to develop live-action content, including destination footage.

“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,” said Olivia Wirth, Qantas group executive, brand, marketing and corporate affairs.

Samsung’s deal with Qantas is part of a three-month trial run to assess customer feedback on how this kind of VR offering might add to their overall travel experience on long flights, the airline said.

Other airlines, including Delta, are also considering offering the headsets to passengers.

“From an inflight entertainment perspective, it’s an industry first,” Wirth said. “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 favorite Hollywood blockbusters from the comfort of their seat 40,000 feet above the ground.”

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