APEX Insight: XL Airways’ trial of the SkyLights Theatre headset was a success, with 95 percent of passengers who trialed the device claiming they were satisfied. SkyLights Theater glasses currently offer an immersive fixed-screen, movie-viewing experience, but the company is looking to expand to 360-degree virtual reality content.
SkyLights says XL Airways’ onboard trial of its immersive in-flight entertainment headset has been an immediate success. Since January 2016, SkyLights Theater glasses, which look similar to virtual reality headsets but offer an immersive fixed-screen, movie-viewing experience, have been available on board the French leisure carrier’s flights to the Antilles and Réunion Island.
According to SkyLights, 95 percent of XL Airways passengers who trialed the device said they were satisfied – and just over half of testers said they would consider buying a SkyLights Theater device for personal use outside the aircraft. “We learned a lot from this experience, thanks to everyone involved, in particular from the passengers and the cabin crews,” says Rateb Zaouk, chief of Operations, SkyLights. “Results are very encouraging, and we are now ready for the launch.”
“In-flight entertainment faces a turning point in its history,” says Vincent Tomasoni, XL Airways’ head of Product Marketing. “SkyLights’ product allows passengers to immerse themselves into a cocoon: their own movie theater, at 36,000 feet from the ground. That is a disruptive innovation that could change the way we travel by plane. We will continue to work with SkyLights and hope to agree on a permanent commercialization by the end of the year.”
“SkyLights’ product allows passengers to immerse themselves into a cocoon: their own movie theater, at 36,000 feet from the ground.” — Vincent Tomasoni, XL Airways
According to SkyLights’ CEO, Hamassala David Dicko, the company is aiming to expand beyond the fixed-screen, movie-viewing experience, and is experimenting with virtual reality in order to find the right kind of content that would make sense on board an aircraft. “We’ve begun adding 360-degree video and content, side by side with standard movies,” he says. “The headset itself is head motion tracking enabled, although we disable that particular option when viewing 2-D and 3-D movies. Adding other types of content will also pose questions regarding motion sickness. All of this has to be tested in flight.”