Alaska Airlines is equipping select flights with VR headsets so that passengers can enjoy immersive movies while they’re 32,000ft in the air. The headsets have been provided by SkyLights, a tech startup hoping to entice airlines into offering VR experiences on flights.
SkyLights’ Allosky Cinematic VR headset will be made available to first class passengers travelling between Seattle-Boston and Boston-San Diego. It will offer an alternative to existing in-flight entertainment systems, with a range of forward-facing 360° films available. Those not wanting to take advantage of the 360° view will also be able to watch traditional 2D films on the headset, while remaining immersed outside of the aircraft’s cabin.
While there are few films to experience in VR at home, with the technology largely geared towards gaming, those flying on Alaska Airlines will have a large film selection to choose from. That’s because SkyLights has partnered with 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros and Entertainment In Motion to offer some big-name movies. That rather appropriately includes Ready Player One, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, both of which are available in 3D.
Passengers on Alaska Airlines won’t be restricted to watching content available from SkyLight, however. In fact, they can bring their own content on-board and watch it using the VR headset. SkyLights’ Allosky Cinematic VR headset can also access popular streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Video also, although it’s not known whether that functionality will be active on Alaska Airlines.
We’re still not sure whether 32,000ft in the air is the ideal location to watch VR content, although it seems that airlines are keen to use the technology as a way to stand out from the competition. Alaska Airlines may be the first airline in the US to adopt the technology, but Qantas began offering VR experiences back in 2015. Since then, Lithuanian airline Small Planet Airlines, has also rolled out the technology on its planes.