Samsung and Australian airline Qantas have just announced a new partnership that will hand first-class air passengers a Gear VR headset to try out on on long-haul flights. Samsung’s Gear VR is the company’s stab at a virtual reality headset–although unlike standalone headsets like Oculus, this device requires a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (included by Qantas) to be slotted in to function as the screen. The phone acts as the rig for visual and processing firepower, while the Gear VR headset and its gyroscopes do the rest.
Qantas, having been among the first airlines to trial iPads for in-flight entertainment back in 2011, has a history of dabbling with gadgetry. The headsets will only be available for first-class passengers, and are limited to Airbus A380 flights between Australia and Los Angeles. Users lucky enough to find one waiting for them can expect 360-degree views of the first-class lounge at LAX, videos of A380 planes taking off, a scenic boat cruise down a river, and the latest Hollywood blockbusters.
We can, of course, also imagine it a ripe breeding ground of commerce. What could be a better way of selling future flights than immersive “previews” of holidays you’ve not yet taken—like the seductive view from a sand dune in Namibia when you’re on your way to a meeting in New York? Then again, there’s the potential nausea factor. After all, there’s only one thing worse than the feeling you get from airline food combined with turbulence—and that’s airline food, turbulence, and dizzying virtual reality.