In-flight entertainment is set to get a makeover, thanks to a partnership between Samsung Electronics and Australia-based airline Qantas. The two have teamed up to launch a new entertainment service that will deploy Samsung's Gear VR, a virtual reality device.
Starting mid-March, first-class passengers on certain A380 flights of Qantas between Australia and Los Angeles will be able to use Gear VR for entertainment. The device will be introduced at First Class airport lounges in mid-February.
"Samsung is immensely proud to be working with Qantas to deliver Samsung Gear VR entertainment technology through the airline's first class services, both in the air and on the ground," said Arno Lenior, chief marketing officer for Samsung Electronics in Australia.
With the trial entertainment service, which showcases the Gear VR, passengers will get a 3D experience that is interactive in a 360-degree format. At the press of a button, passengers using Qantas' VR headsets will be immersed in an engaging visual experience.
The trial will see passengers in Melbourne and Sydney First Lounges using the Gear VR headsets. Select A380 flights will also offer the service in First Class cabins. This move makes Qantas not only the first but the only airline to offer its customers a VR entertainment experience on board.
The trial is slated to run for a period of three months and will assess customer feedback as to whether the VR offering is adding to the in-flight experience of passengers on long-haul flights.
The headsets will be accompanied by a Qantas app that has specifically been developed and will run on a Note 4 inside the device. The content for the VR headset has been made especially for Qantas by several partners such as Jaunt.
The technology will open up new horizons for passengers in the world of in-flight and also lounge entertainment. The initiative will also give Qantas an effective means of previewing both destinations and experiences.
"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 of Qantas Group Executive, Brand, Marketing & Corporate Affairs.