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Quick read

BA passengers flying from London Heathrow to New York JFK will be able to watch a selection of films, documentaries and travel programmes

2D, 3D and 360-degree formats will be available

SkyLights designed the AlloSky VR headsets

BA is also about to wrap up its The BA 2119: Flight of the Future exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery

The story

British Airways (BA) is the latest airline to trial virtual reality (VR) headsets for its passengers.

Passengers travelling on select flights in first-class from London Heathrow to New York JFK will be able to watch a selection of films, documentaries and travel programmes in VR. 2D, 3D and 360-degree formats will be available from now until the end of the year.

VR headset specialist SkyLights designed the AlloSky VR headsets, which are wearable even when lying flat.

Earlier this year, BA trialled the technology at Heathrow Terminal 5, giving customers a glimpse of the Club World cabin through VR.

First UK airline to trial VR, technology takes off

BA said it is the first UK airline to trial the technology and has worked with experts to select a range of therapeutic programmes, including guided meditation and sound therapy, specifically designed for customers who have a fear of flying.

VR for airlines has taken off this year, with SunExpress, Garuda Indonesia and Iberia all offering the technology on select flights.

Sajida Ismail, head of inflight product at BA, is enthusiastic about VR’s potential to change in-flight entertainment. He said: “We are always looking at the latest technology to enhance our customers’ experience on the ground and in the air. Virtual reality has the power to revolutionise in-flight entertainment and we’re really excited to trial these new glasses as they should create a unique and memorable journey for our First customers.”

The BA 2119: Flight of the Future

On the ground, BA is about to wrap up its The BA 2119: Flight of the Future exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery.

The VR exhibition, which launched on 1 August and is free to enter, has been developed through a partnership between BA and the Royal College of Art to explore what flying may look like over the next 100 years. 

Among the experiences at the exhibition is Fly, a full-motion VR experience that enables users to become a time-travelling pilot.

Fly users can experience the earliest imaginings of Leonard da Vinci and his ornithopter, the Wright Brothers’ success on Kitty Hawk, and the first inaugural passenger flight to Paris.

Image credit: BA