APEX Insight: Small Planet Airlines has introduced a full virtual reality in-flight entertainment experience on board its fleet of Airbus A320s through a partnership with Inflight VR.
Inflight VR has worked together with AirFi and logistics and duty-free provider TRE³ to create a full virtual reality (VR) in-flight entertainment offering for Small Planet Airlines, which began flying on September 5 on the carrier’s Airbus A320-operated flights from Amsterdam to destinations in southern Europe.
Using a stand-alone headset created by Inflight VR’s hardware partner Pico Interactive, passengers flying to and from the Netherlands can watch a selection of films and theater productions, partake in guided meditation experiences on a beach or in a forest, go “VR shopping,” play a selection of games, or explore interesting places with a virtual city tour, for example. All content is locally stored on the devices.
The headsets are now available on approximately six flights a day and are stored inside existing drawers of trolleys, with the lenses and straps being cleaned with disinfection wipes after each use. Software updates are made while the devices are being charged remotely.
Inflight VR’s chief commercial officer, Raphael Baumann, says passengers will have to pay a small fee to rent the device. In terms of an audience for paid content, Baumann said, “People can already download most of the premium content sold on board (except Hollywood movies). With VR, this is not the case, as most people don’t have VR headsets. This is a great chance for airlines to secure this market early on before ‘bring-your-own VR- device’ – BYO(VR)D – begins in a few years.”
“This all-new Inflight VR concept will greatly contribute to making the travel experience on board our aircraft much more pleasant,” – Lina Griciuvienė, Small Planet Airlines
Lina Griciuvienė, head of Inflight Services at Small Planet Airlines, commented, “Being a fairly new player in the leisure travel field, we want to offer the best and most advanced, and are convinced this all-new Inflight VR concept will greatly contribute to making the travel experience on board our aircraft much more pleasant, while also helping us push our ancillary revenues to the next level.”
After a successful rollout in the Netherlands, Small Planet Airlines plans expand the service to more destinations towards the end of the year. “Seeing a young, dynamic and forward-looking carrier like Small Planet select our in-flight VR entertainment system is a great endorsement of our concept,” Baumann said. “We look very much forward to the deployment of this partnership and its subsequent successful expansion.”