First-Class Perks Include VR Tech On Alaska Air

First-Class Perks Include VR Tech On Alaska Air

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Alaska Airlines announced that is partnering with French company SkyLights to pioneer a new virtual reality (VR) headset for its first-class passengers.

The program makes Alaska Air the first airline in North America to trial the technology as an inflight entertainment device.

“Guests enjoy catching up on the latest movies and TV shows when traveling. The popularity of our streaming and tablet entertainment systems is proof,” the company wrote in a blog post. “For a limited time, we’re taking it a step further by creating a movie theater-like experience at 35,000 ft.”

From September 23-27, first-class passengers onboard 10 flights between Boston and Seattle and Boston and San Diego will have a chance to experience the technology, as well as offer feedback, on a selection of 2D and 3D movies provided by SkyLights’ partners 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers and EIM. Some of the titles will include Academy Award winning “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” in 3D, and the family-friendly “Ferdinand.” In addition, there will be several 360° immersive experiences that allows guests to explore different worlds.

“I’m really excited to see this technology onboard. I was impressed with SkyLight’s Allosky headset early on as it’s the smallest, lightest, and most stylish VR headset in the inflight entertainment market,” said David Scotland, Alaska Airlines manager of inflight entertainment and connectivity. “These trials will help us understand how comfortable our guests are using the technology, if they prefer it to our current offerings, and let our flight attendants share feedback about its impact to our inflight service flow.”

The company added that a member of the SkyLights team will fly on each of the flights to offer support. The test is only available to passengers in First Class.

“We’re testing with guests in our Alaska Airlines First Class cabin as it makes for a nicely contained focus group in the air,” Scotland said. “We’ve made no official commitments to pursuing VR long-term, but this trial will help us shape our future strategy.”

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