Virtual Reality is one of this years hottest pieces of tech. For generations the human race has aimed to bring more and more realistic gaming and immersive experiences to the forefront of entertainment, constantly striving for that 'perfect' virtual reality sensation.
We've even seen technology that could enable people to feel things in virtual reality and Augmented Reality is also being developed at an alarming rate. So it's only natural that companies around the world are looking at how they can begin to integrate VR into their offering to customers, giving them the edge over competitors.
One of the places that makes perfect sense (once you stop and think about it) for Virtual Reality to really make an impact is on planes as in flight entertainment. Seriously, think about. How many times have you been on a plane wishing you were somewhere else?
On the way out to your holiday destination you're thinking excitedly about getting there and, on the depressing flight home, all you want to do is get home and relax. You never really think about being on a plane as a genuinely enjoyable experience (I'm talking commercial flights where you're packed in like cattle, not private jets or light aircraft here).
Add in the option of VR Headsets to long haul flights and BINGO! You're instantly anywhere you want to be and not concentrating on making sure you don't strangle the big guy next to you who's just knocked your elbow off of the hand rest for the tenth time already, or stopping yourself from turning around and telling the eight the year old child who won't stop kicking your seat that he's about to lose a leg.
You could be sat watching a fireworks display or feeling like you're sat at football match with the roar of the crowd giving you goosebumps. All in all, you're a much happier chappy. The fact that you are happy also makes the flight attendants job easier and the company is certainly happy because you undoubtedly have had to pay extra for the privilege, but you don't care; at least you won't be up on a murder charge when you land.
It makes perfect sense. Which is probably why XL Airways in France has started offering VR Headsets as a viable in flight entertainment option.
The are currently conducting a seven month trial run of the tech on board flights using VR headsets from Skylights, a French virtual reality start-up. They will be offering both 2D and 3D movies through its 'SkyTheater' application and they are planning on expanding the content from movies to TV Shows and even include sports like Formula e in 360 degrees along with the addition of VR Games.
What's even better is the trial isn't exclusive to business class either, XL Airways is offering it economy seats as well and should all go well, they plan on rolling out the VR Headsets on the long haul aircraft (the Airbus A330-200 AND A330-300 first followed by the Boeing 737-300 which is used for shorter routes).
The benefit to company, beyond that of sheer customer satisfaction, is that they see it as a great 'upselling' opportunity. Currently XL Airways offers Samsung Galaxy Tablets free to use for business class and 10 EUR rental for economy. Now, the VR Headsets will be a considerable outlay for the airline but once purchased the invest could very well be paid off in less than 30 return flights and considering the size of XL Airways, that won't take them long to do at all...