Thanks to a new partnership between Samsung and Australian airline Qantas, passengers flying with Qantas will soon be able to relax in virtual reality.
Qantas will use Samsung’s new Gear VR headsets to test how passengers like virtual reality as in-flight entertainment, which will allow passengers to watch movies, take virtual tours, and even “experience an A380 landing from the tarmac.”
Qantas is also working with Jaunt, the virtual reality video team that recorded a Paul McCartney performance for VR, to create additional live-action content including “destination footage.”
This marks the first time an airline has offered virtual reality during flights, but it makes sense: People like to tune out during flights, and the immersion of virtual reality is a perfect way to help people forget they’re flying aboard a cramped plane. Of course, you’re not going to look very cool with any kind of virtual reality headset strapped to your face, but then again, the same could be said about those travelling neck pillows, and people still wear those all the time.
And while virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift require a gaming computer to run, the Gear VR is actually powered by a Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, which means passengers won’t have to fiddle with any cords or attachments.
Qantas is only offering a limited number of Gear VR headsets to passengers, and you’ll need to be flying first class on “select flights” between Australia and Los Angeles, with the rollout starting in March. For those looking to pass the time during their next layover, Qantas is also making the VR headsets available to those in the Sydney or Melbourne International First Lounges.
You can read our impressions of Samsung’s Gear VR headset right here.