June 7 2018  |  Inflight Entertainment

Report: Passengers craving inflight VR

By Rachel Debling

SkyLights' AlloSky in Business Class, shown here unbranded

Virtual reality inflight entertainment (VR IFE) is gaining fans across the airline industry with 72% of passengers saying they are willing to adopt it over other IFE systems, according to a new report released June 6 from SkyLights.

The paper, titled “Virtual Reality IFE : Opportunities & Obstacles Addressed," explores the opportunities that this new wave of tech holds for the airline industry and the obstacles surrounding its implementation.

Millennials and frequent fliers are especially open to onboard VR, with a respective 75% and 80% responding that they would be more likely to adopt such a system. Airlines can therefore "stand out from the crowd" by turning their attention to this technology, the report argues.

“Leveraging VR as IFE makes a lot of sense on long-haul flights," said Laurence Fornari, SkyLights’ Head of Sales and Marketing, in a statement from the company. "It offers a remarkable customer experience that makes time fly and creates a feeling of space and privacy onboard.”

Though the company concedes that VR will not likely replace long-haul seatback screens in the short term, the technology and content has progressed at such a rate that it is ready to deploy in flight. Still, the paper notes, VR should be considered a value-added service at this time and not a replacement for traditional IFE options.

On the topic of obstacles in the way of inflight VR, Rateb Zaouk, SkyLights’ Head of Operations, commented: "There are two common objections to VR IFE. The first is VR sickness, which is resolved by offering a fixed-screen, cinematic experience, or carefully curating the increasingly abundant VR films that are suitable to view in-flight. At SkyLights, we do both. The second obstacle is passenger safety, which can be circumvented by enabling the cabin crew to pause VR headsets to make an announcement."

To read the full report, visit SkyLights' website.

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