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Alaska Airlines offers virtual reality entertainment, but only for a select few passengers

VR entertainment
Alaska Airlines says it is the first carrier in North America to offer virtual reality entertainment. But the VR system will be offered only to first-class passengers on two long-haul routes.
(SkyLights)

If virtual reality goggles can let a wearer escape humdrum reality for a more visually exciting world, it is no wonder that airlines are beginning to offer VR entertainment on long-haul flights.

After all, what is more humdrum than a cramped airline seat and stale cabin air?

Alaska Airlines said it has become the first airline in North America to offer passengers VR entertainment that lets them watch 3-D and 360-degree movies using high-definition goggles. The system uses Bluetooth technology to free users from plugging wires into the plane’s entertainment system.

The bad news is that the Seattle-based carrier is offering the VR goggles and headset system only to first-class passengers and only on two routes, Seattle to Boston and Boston to San Diego.

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Alaska Airlines began providing the VR systems through a partnership with SkyLights, an American-French company that has deployed the technology on airlines in Europe, including a French airline called XL Airways.

Another European VR company, Inflight VR, recently launched virtual reality entertainment systems for the leisure carrier Small Planet Airlines.

Those lucky few fliers who get to try out the VR system on Alaska Airlines can see several movies in 3-D, including “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” starring Frances McDormand, “Ready Player One,” directed by Steven Spielberg, and the animated film “Ferdinand.”

The system will be preloaded with short, 360-degree films that the airline says “cover subjects including freediving, classical music and acrobatics.”

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hugo.martin@latimes.com

To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter.


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