Skylights, a French company formed by a former commercial airline pilot and an engineer, is raising VR to new heights. Literally, because the goal of the company is to introduce VR headsets onto flights. Already boasting a wide range of corporate partners such as Air France and Airbus, the company already had headsets on 100 flights. Is VR on commercial flights a viable option?
What Skylights is Offering
Speaking to TechCrunch, Skylights is hoping to raise the quality of in-flight entertainment and make it a differentiating point when choosing airlines. The headset comes with 40 HD films, and make the user feel like they are sitting in a cinema. The headsets are also designed to be wireless, be lightweight (around 280g) and have early window access to film releases. Skylights also promises that airlines will find the transportation and distribution of headsets easy. Considering that current in-flight entertainment is expensive to install and adds weight to flights, this might be an attractive option.
Skylights’ design does have drawbacks. The charge on the headset is six hours, which for long-range flights would be severely limiting. Furthermore, whilst the Oculus Rift has 1080p resolution, this headset only has 540p. VR enthusiasts might well find these specifications to be disappointing, but are just about good enough for its role as in-flight entertainment.
Skylights also offers extensive support for its headset towards airlines. Their website offers ground-up logistics to help with the installation and issues such as charging and conditioning. It also offers help with potential upgrades and and maintenance for airlines. Most importantly, the chance to offer 3D movies could be a major selling point for the headset for Airlines, especially those who pride themselves on the quality of their inflight entertainment.
Skylights launched in April of 2016, and is openly courting airlines for its device. Whether it will make its way to Asia-based carriers waits to be seen. It is likely that if and when the headset becomes more popular it will be a premium service on airlines, or be limited to business and first class passengers.