Clearly eager to mark itself out from the competition when it comes to in-flight entertainment, Qantas is lining up to supply its passengers with Samsung’s Gear VR headset for a bit of 360-degree long-haul awesomeness.
That’s right, forget seat-back screens and iPads, Australia’s national carrier wants you to sit back and relax with a Note 4-equipped virtual reality headset strapped to your face.
But banish from your mind the image of a cabin full of hundreds of passengers simultaneously experiencing the delights of this fast-developing tech, for Qantas is only offering the device to those at the pointy end of the plane.
That’s right, this one’s for first-class ticket holders only, but should you have the chance to fly in the big seats, your Gear VR gadget will initially offer immersive previews of Qantas destinations alongside information on new products and services from the airline. You’ll also have the opportunity to take a virtual tour of its new First Lounge at LAX.
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It’s starting out as a three-month trial, though our guess is this particular in-flight offering will be around for some time to come.
The Gear VR headsets will be offered to fliers at Qantas flight lounges in Sydney and Melbourne from February, as well as on select long-haul services using its A380 aircraft from March.
Related: Hands on with the Gear VR (video)
Qantas marketing executive Olivia Wirth described the inclusion of a virtual reality headset as part of its in-flight entertainment service as “an industry first,” adding that the technology should provide the Aussie carrier with a new way to connect with passengers.
Certainly as time goes on, the airline could consider offering more enhanced content with the headset. Just think, nervous fliers could immerse themselves in a thoroughly ground-based audio-visual experience, while aviation enthusiasts could enjoy a cockpit experience with real turbulence thrown in for good measure. Give it to passengers in coach and they can pretend they’re in the plush seats up front. What’s not to like?