British Airways to Trial Virtual Reality Headsets on Some JFK Flights

Aug 14, 2019

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British Airways is kicking its inflight entertainment offering up a notch. On Wednesday, the British flag carrier announced that it was set to introduce virtual reality headsets on select flights.

The VR headsets will be trialled until the end of 2019 and will be available on select flights in first class from London Heathrow (LHR) to New York (JFK). Specifically, the headsets will be available on BA Flight 117, which departs LHR at 8:25am and arrives in NYC at 11:05am. First-class passengers who elect to try out the VR headsets will be able to choose from a selection of films, documentaries and travel programs either in 2D, 3D or in 360°.

LONDON, UK: British Airways will be bringing First customers a 3D cinema in the skies through virtual reality headsets on select flights, photographed at London Heathrow on 25 July 2019 (Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)
Image courtesy of Nick Morrish/British Airways

The VR headsets are made by AlloSky and designed by SkyLights, a US-French company, and allow passengers to watch content in the mode of their choosing, even when lying fully flat in the first-class bed. Additionally, BA says that it’s worked with experts to choose therapeutic programs, such as guided meditation and sound therapy, to help passengers who have a fear of flying.

While BA is the first British airline to experiment with VR technology in its IFE offering, it’s not the first airline globally to do so. The tech has been used by Air France’s now-defunct subsidiary Joon, Alaska Airlines and Iberia, among others.

BA has used VR technology in some of its on-the-ground operations in the past, such as its VR tour of the Club World cabin in Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

Featured image of a British Airways Boeing 747 at JFK by Alberto Riva/TPG

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