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British Airways tests VR entertainment on selected first-class flights

British Airways hopes that VR entertainment can help some passengers to distract themselves long enough during a flight to forget that they are zooming in a few hundred miles per hour at tens of thousands of feet above the ground. In a new pilot program, the British airline has announced that it will offer SkyLights VR headsets for selected first-class flights between Heathrow and London's JFK airports.

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The programming includes 2D, 3D and 360-degree format films, documentaries and TV shows, as well as guided meditations to calm the nerves of people who are afraid of flying. (You could say that first-class seats can reduce those fears a little more than those in the economy, but phobias are phobias and who am I to judge?) The SkyLights headsets look a lot like glasses and are much lighter than other popular ones headsets, weighing only 250 grams. The company has also collaborated with Air France and Sri Lankan Airlines to offer the sets in lounges.

VR entertainment on flights is not exactly a popular idea, but it has been tested in the past by airlines such as Qantas and Alaska Airlines. JetBlue has also distributed Google Cardboard headsets to view content in 360 degrees. (The edge was part of this experiment in 2017.) There is no indication of whether British Airways plans to take the first-class headsets, but it is unlikely that it will be quite difficult to turn 180 degrees in an economic seat.