British Airways testing VR headsets for first-class passengers this year

Enlarge / Ars editor Sam Machkovech donning an Oculus Go headset. This isn’t the headset British Airways will use, but it serves a similar function. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

Plane travel can be a hassle at best and a panic-inducing experience at worst. But passengers who get anxious around takeoff may have a new option to calm those nerves. British Airways announced that it is testing out virtual reality headsets for the rest of this year on flights between London’s Heathrow and New York City’s John F. Kennedy airport.

The airline is tapping SkyLights for the VR eyewear headsets that will be available for its first-class passengers. The AlloSky hardware can present 3D views even when the viewer is lying flat.

As far as programming, British Airways will have options. The VR headsets will offer visual entertainment in 2D, 3D, or 360° formats. The airline will also provide more therapeutic programs to help people who have a fear of flying. These VR experiences include guided meditation and sound therapy.

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