Qantas trials Samsung virtual reality headsets in first class

By David Flynn, January 29 2015

Qantas will hand out Samsung virtual reality headsets to Airbus A380 first class passengers in a three month trial of the technology beginning mid-February.

The Samsung Gear VR headsets, which will launch onto the Australian market next month for $249, will be available in the first class cabins of Qantas' daily superjumbo flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles and back.

They'll also be on offer in Qantas' international first class lounges in Sydney and Melbourne.

Travellers eager to take a quick VR jaunt will be able to sample 360 degree content including brief clips of a Qantas Airbus A380 taking off and landing plus a peek at Qantas' new Los Angeles First Lounge.

Four of the VR headsets will be available to share among the 14 seats in the A380's first class cabin, with each headset partnered to a Samsung Galaxy smartphone loaded with a library of virtual reality clips.

Several of these have been shot exclusively for Qantas and the airline intends to built a library of VR clips for key destinations, with the first already shot in the Northern Territory’s Kakadu National Park.

Qantas Group Executive, Brand, Marketing & Corporate Affairs Olivia Wirth tells Australian Business Traveller that the airline is also keen to see how Hollywood-produced VR movies could transform inflight entertainment.

AusBT tried the headset and VR content at today's launch and at this stage would rate it as an interesting taste of what could be done, although the amount of appealing content – especially content which goes beyond mere curiosity value – will be paramount to take-up during the trial.

Here's a video clip produced by Qantas to showcase its latest tech innovation.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

Need some strong neck muscles for those!

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 566

They'll be able to visit London without leaving the lounge!!!

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 228

Gimmick.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

....and 'gimmicks' can actually influence peoples purchasing habits...airlines and the world is full of 'gimmicks'....good on QF for tryiing/trialing something different...it may..or may not succeed..or be implimented.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

todays 'gimmick'....can become tomorrows reality

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

...if you dont like it...dont use it..but dont begrudge others that may see a benefit

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Sep 2014

Total posts 20

That's a big word for you this week!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jun 2013

Total posts 367

Very interesting ,look forward to using befor I comment.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

The airline that shelved inflight wi-fi due to lack of uptake is now trialling darth vader masks? But just in first... Because, if I may draw a conclussion, first is full of young tech savvy dudes busting down the door to trial the latest gadget????

Another case of designed to fail? Another case of ticking the innovaion trial KPI's? Or a case of the exec team receiving new Samsung TVs?

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

I assume they're getting 'em for free from Samsung.

It's only in F on the SYD-LAX and MEL-LAX flights so that's, what, a couple of dozen pairs? Plus a few more for the F lounge?

Samsung would be crazy not to lend 'em out for free, it's a fabulous chance to show off their latest tech to a bunch of (largely) wealthy and influential people with nothing else to do for fourteen hours. (Plus of course they've just got this free publicity right here. We're talking about 'em and we didn't even get to try 'em.)

I'm interested to see what becomes of VR this time. It made a big splash in the early 90s (remember Dactyl Nightmare?) and then vanished for a long time as it turned out people didn't really like headaches, vertigo and neck cramps. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2014

Total posts 11

they are only having 4 on each aircraft and they are not intended for use for the entire flight. Yes it is a gimmic initialy but lets see how they improve the service and the final implementation

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

i would guarantee that if VA did this trial, people would be praising it/them for their 'innovation'....and lets not forget that VA also doesnt have inflight wi-fi...but apparently VA are immune to such scrutiny...yes...i'm sick of QFbashing.....

as for...'only invovles those in FIRST'...because it may only be a feature/product given to those in FIRST!!! why offer it to other cabin classes if it wont be offered in other cabin/classes..if it is introduced

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

I'm personally equally critical of VA's lack of inflight wi-fi. The two of them, with an enormous cross polination of employees, are constantly looking at what the other is doing. Take the new business suites for example.

From an innovation perspective, good on them. From a praciticality perspective, it's nothing but a gimmick.

Agree with Hugo, it's a great move by Samsungs marketing department. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Sep 2014

Total posts 20

I'm young and always busting down a first class door when I can.....but not tech savvy. Yet I want to try it. So am I wrong according to your bologna sandwich ?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

You're 36 this year Tex, that's not young... Case in point, apart from gimmick value, it does little to enchance the flight experience and attract new customers. It does nothing to reach out to us Gen Y users.

Until they invent something akin to the holodecks found in the Star Trek universe, I'm afraid these so-called innovations are just plain tacky.

Imagine wearing that device and peering your head around. You'de look like a right dick! But then you're in First Class already...so there.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

You'd think this would be better for the old J product. You could create a virtual reality where the walls aren't peeling and the plastic isn't yellowing.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Dec 2012

Total posts 20

so now i can watch my porn without disturbing others onboard? cool. 

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

As long as you don't get too involved, yes.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 531

Interesting.... Could be the future of inflight entertainment!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Jan 2015

Total posts 30

They look hidious. Would be interested to see if they took photos of a female modelling the glasses.  Photographers must of been keeled over in laughter trying to pick the best photos.

09 Jul 2014

Total posts 31

If I was ever lucky enough to be in 1st class I'm not sure I'd want something that took me out of that experience and into a virtual world!

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

The first class experience comes down to sitting in a comfy chair. Or maybe sitting in a narrow bed. Then you watch some TV. Then somebody brings you a meal which will be on par with a moderately-priced restaurant on the ground. Then you get to drink a glass of a fairly expensive drink that you could, nonetheless, have bought a whole bottle of on the ground for a hundredth the cost of this flight.

It's a whole lot better than economy, but it's not something you should spend your life looking forward to. You can replicate the experience at home for, like, a hundred bucks.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

haha minus the romance of flying, of course!

09 Jul 2014

Total posts 31

Killjoy! ;)

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 185

I want to try this now just wish it was on the lhr route and i would book it 

It would be nice I suppose to wear it on the LHR route and have the device loaded with images of Changi airport so that you think you're still transiting through Singapore instead of Dubai :p

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

How would you virtualise the SIN lounge and, almost as importantly, how would you virtualise the Toast Box or Ya Kun?

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 185

Couldn't agree more one of the reasons Qantas lost my busniess ( well first ) on the sector cant stand dubai airport dont mind abu dhabi thought.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

You mean I can stick a phone via a bulky pair of googles right in front of my eyes for an "immersive experience"? Lol, I can do that now without looking like a low-rent Borg knock-off. Rather naff so I'll stick to the champagne. Still I guess it doesn't cost Qantas anything, other than running this cross-promotion (which may even have delivered a few dollars in their pocket), so it can amuse those who like toys.

Low-rent Borg knock off!!!! I like that!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Your holo deck reference must have framed that universe to my mind. I agree with you, having used a few models of latest "revolutions" VR tech at a trade show, we are still a long way off VR being a realistic, practical and functional tech worth get excited about. It's still beta right now.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

One thing that I wonder about, given that these VR headsets have caused some people to be ill, even barf, due to disconnect between their what their eyes see and their middle ear feedback (induced motion sickness), is that their use may not be suited to an enclosed aircraft cabin. Someone vomiting in First would rather lower the tone lol. On the ground at least, plenty of toilets to rush into if worst comes to worst.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Dec 2012

Total posts 168

Fabulous concept. I can sit in an A380 while it takes off and then watch a virtual A380 take off! Then I can disembark at LAX and wait in the very lounge that I virtually visited a few hours before, while I wait for my connecting flight!

Reminds me of a Futurama episode. Not sure if this link will come through!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6eRqMiAxQ0

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Jul 2013

Total posts 2

Wouldn't work in economy, you'd get whacked in the face when the seat in front reclines


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