While your everyday Galaxy Note 4 customer can’t buy Samsung’s Gear VR headset at retailers, after Samsung delayed the Australia launch until sometime in early 2015; Qantas passengers flying first class from Sydney or Melbourne will be able to partake in an array of virtual tours and inflight blockbusters through the headset shortly.
Qantas and Samsung will be running a three month trial of the Gear VR or, as Qantas describes it Samsung virtual reality (VR) technology, beginning in their Sydney and Melbourne International First Lounges in mid-February and in First Class cabins on selected long-haul flights on A380 aircraf between Australia and Los Angeles from mid-March. The technology will be assessed to see if VR can be used to add to a customers experience on long haul flights.
Qantas is not just relying on the range of content already produced for the Gear VR, they are working with production company Jaunt, to create live-action content which will include ‘destination footage’. This new content includes a virtual tour of the new Qantas First lounge in Los Angeles, as well as a look at an A380
landing from the tarmac. From an Australian perspective, Qantas has gotten Tourism NT on-board, who will be offering a special 3D experience from Kakadu National Park.
Qantas Group Executive, Brand, Marketing & Corporate Affairs Olivia Wirth said the technology will “open up a new world of lounge and inflight entertainment for customers, as well as give Qantas a powerful way to preview destinations and experiences”. Samsung Electronics Australia Chief Marketing Officer, Arno Lenior said “deployment of Samsung Gear VR technology across selected Qantas services will provide an exceptional experience for customers”.
With the Samsung Gear VR worth around $249, and a Galaxy Note 4 required to actually run the headset, the availability isn’t going to be great, but it’s interesting to see Qantas experimenting with the technology. At the launch, our own Jason Murray suggested long haul flights would benefit from VR, however he also pointed out that there may be a certain amount of queasiness involved when using VR while the plane is in motion. There’s only one way to find out, if you’re lucky enough to use a Gear VR on a Qantas flight during the trial, we’d love to hear about it.