It appear that somebody at Qantas reads FLIGHT. Qantas will be trialing the Samsung VR (Virtual Reality) Gear headsets on board A380 services, as well as being made available to guests at their Sydney and Melbourne lounge. The VR Gear trial will run for three months from mid March in an effort to assess longer term viability and suitability on long haul and other services.
Qantas is working alongside the Palo Alta company Jaunt VR to manufacture content that'll showcase Qantas destinations as a virtual experience.
Tourism NT is the first tourism group to partner with Qantas on the content creation, with a special 3D experience from Kakadu National Park. Not unlike the generic 'flying under the helicopter footage' that comes pre loaded on the VR Gear, the experience is rumoured to have been filmed under a helicopter through the valleys and waterways of Kakadu National Park.
Video: Qantas x Samsung Gear VR. Source: YouTube, 94,328 Views.
The VR experience opens up opportunities to passengers in ways that were previously impossible. Tours of the tarmac, 'empty' aircraft tours, or a (immersive cockpit view) landing over Sydney Harbour are all experiences we might experience in the future. We've talked about apps that would permit chat rooms and other funky features before... but it's unlikely we'll see Qantas invest money into anything other than the essentials during a limit first-class trial.
The partnership between Samsung and Qantas (a traditional iOS/Apple partner) is a blow to Virgin that has had a monopoly on Samsung IFE arrangements (until now).