British Airways is to provide virtual reality headsets for its New York-bound first class passengers, in what it says is a first for a UK airline.

Customers travelling in First on selected BA117 flights between Heathrow and New York JFK between now and the end of the year, will be able to don a pair of VR headsets to enjoy “a selection of award-winning films, documentaries and travel programmes in 2D, 3D or 360-degree formats”.

The headsets are being provided by San Francisco-based VR eyewear specialists Skylights, which has previously worked with airlines including Air France and Alaska Airlines.

As part of the trial BA says that it has worked with experts to select “a range of therapeutic programmes, including guided meditation and sound therapy, specifically designed for customers who have a fear of flying”, adding that the VR experience “even works when they are lying fully flat”.

Last year the carrier launched a virtual reality initiative at Heathrow T5, to encourage more of its customers to upgrade to Club World.

Passengers were able to take a “tour” of the carrier’s Club World cabins using VR glasses available at BA’s T5 check-in desks, enabling them to get a 360-degree view of the seat, bedding and dining.

The airline’s BA 2119: Flight of the Future exhibition recently opened at London’s Saatchi Gallery, with themes including AI, advanced jet propulsion, hyper personalisation, automation, modular transport, sustainability, health and entertainment.