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British Airways will test virtual reality headsets for first-class passengers

First-class passengers on British Airways will soon get even more perks when the airline begins testing a new virtual reality headset.

The airline announced on Wednesday, August 14, that for the rest of the year, first-class customers on select international flights can watch in-flight entertainment such as movies, documentaries, and travel programs through custom VR headsets for the eight-hour flight duration. The headsets offer 2D, 3D, and 360-degree formats.

There will also be options for passengers to choose therapeutic programs in the VR headset, like guided meditations or sound therapy. These programs were specifically designed with those passengers who fear flying in mind.

“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 revolutionize 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,” said Sajida Ismail, the head of inflight product at British Airways.

British Airways partnered with SkyLights, VR eyewear specialists, to create the custom headsets. The headsets immerse passengers in a 3D world, no matter if they are sitting up or laying down.

Only first-class customers traveling from London’s Heathrow Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York will be able to experience the trial. That means you’d have to spend about $8,000 for a round trip, first-class ticket to experience VR 35,000 feet above the ground.

Last September, Alaska Airlines also tested SkyLights VR headsets for its passengers, as well as noise-canceling headphones.

As tech evolves, airlines are finding more ways to make the flying experience more comfortable and enjoyable, because let’s be honest, flying can be stressful and tiring. Unfortunately, most of these tech features and trials are only available to first-class passengers.

American Airlines and mattress brand Casper partnered in 2017 to bring passengers Casper mattress pads and premium lumbar pillows for better in-flight comfort.

Apple Music also announced a partnership with American Airlines in January, which allows subscribers to the music streaming platform free access to in-flight Wi-Fi. Usually, passengers have to pay extra to access Wi-Fi connection during a flight.

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