Indonesia’s flag carrier Garuda Indonesia is trialling a new virtual reality (VR) experience that is being made available to business class passengers as part of its in-flight entertainment services.
The airline has been trialling its “VR Experience” on select domestic and international services over the past few months. This has included Jakarta-Manado in January and February; Jakarta-Denpasar in February and March; and Jakarta-Singapore in March.
The feature was also introduced on its Tokyo Haneda-Jakarta flights late last month, and has been available at the Garuda Indonesia Executive Lounge at Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta International Airport Terminal 3.
So, what exactly does the VR experience entail?
Ari Askhara, CEO of Garuda Indonesia, said: “Through this VR facility, passengers could watch a variety of box office films on Garuda Indonesia flights, with the sensation of watching in a wide-angle screen 180/360 degrees.”
Askhara added that the airline has worked to ensure that cabin announcements are still able to be communicated without the experience being too jarring.
“One of the stages of technology development that we have developed is through the integration of the cabin announcement feature in the VR Experience so that passengers who are enjoying the VR Experience facility will be seamlessly connected to the cabin announcements.”
Garuda hasn’t indicated exactly when it plans to roll out the facility across the rest of its services, though Askhara said the airline is “very optimistic that we could officially introduce this feature in the near future”.
The Indonesian carrier isn’t the only airline looking to add VR to its in-flight entertainment systems.
Last year, Alaska Airlines announced it too was testing a virtual reality entertainment system, developed in collaboration with in-flight VR developer Skylights, which is also working with Garuda on its VR Experience system.
Australian carrier Qantas hasn’t trialled VR, however earlier this year it did announce that “virtual reality zones” were high on the list of desired features on its proposed ultra-long-haul flights between the east coast of Australia and New York and London, according to a survey of its customers.
Meanwhile, Madrid-based design consultancy firm Mormedi recently unveiled renderings of proposed modular “digital experience” zones – including potentially VR entertainment areas – that make use of unused aircraft cargo spaces.
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