Qantas using Samsung’s Gear VR to let you tune out on flights and lounges

Qantas and Samsung Electronics Australia are getting together for a new trial entertainment service. Using Samsung Gear VR technology customers will get to experience the virtual world in three...

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Qantas and Samsung Electronics Australia are getting together for a new trial entertainment service. Using Samsung Gear VR technology customers will get to experience the virtual world in three hundred and sixty degrees. The virtual worlds available in the trial will include locations like the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the first class lounge in Los Angeles.

The prospect of tuning out during a long haul flight makes an awful lot of sense and until now, we’ve had to resort to the in-flight entertainment systems. Being able to immerse your brain in another location entirely is a very interesting idea, just hope virtual sickness doesn’t become real travel sickness.

The Gear VR uses your phone (or we imagine supplied phone from Qantas) for the display of the headset, so hopefully the battery lasts. It sounds like the content selection will be fairly limited for now, so it’s unlikely you’ll spend a whole 14hr flight to America in your Avatar world. Qantas is working closely with production company Jaunt, to develop and produce the live-action content including destination footage. Tourism NT is the first tourism group to partner with Qantas on the content creation, with a special 3D experience from Kakadu National Park.

As part of the trial, a number of Samsung Gear VR headsets will be made available to customers in Sydney and Melbourne International First Lounges as well as in the First Class cabins on select A380 services. Qantas will be the only airline to offer a virtual reality entertainment experience inflight, meaning they got an exclusive with Samsung, but we’re not sure anyone else is trying. The trial will run for three months to assess customer feedback on how this kind of VR offering might add to their overall travel experience on long-haul flights.

Qantas Group Executive, Brand, Marketing & Corporate Affairs Olivia Wirth said the technology will open up a new world of lounge and inflight entertainment for customers, as well as give Qantas a powerful way to preview 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 Mrs Wirth.

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

“It’s also a fantastic tool to feature our network’s destinations, inspiring travel and promoting tourism.”

Samsung Electronics Australia Chief Marketing Officer, Arno Lenior, said the deployment of Samsung Gear VR technology across selected Qantas services will provide an exceptional experience for customers.

“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.

“We believe Samsung Gear VR, one of the latest innovations from Samsung, will open new worlds for Qantas customers who experience the technology for themselves,” Mr Lenior said.

Qantas are initially pitching this as a premium flying experience, offering the Samsung VR headsets to First Class Lounge customers in Sydney and Melbourne from mid-February and on select A380 flights between Australia and Los Angeles in the First Class cabin from mid-March.

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