Dubai: Do you always love looking down at landscapes from an airplane?
What if you can actually see or take a tour of the place that interests you, attend a concert in an opera house that’s possibly down there or ride the ferris wheel, while still sitting on the plane?
Some passengers bound to Dubai actually got to experience exactly that.
German airline Lufthansa has recently developed an in-flight virtual reality (VR) prototype that lets flyers take a three-dimensional (3D) tour of a place aboard an aircraft.
The technology was developed in a way that allows passengers to check out the scenery on the ground as they fly over them, making the "glass-bottomed plane" a virtual reality.
On one of its flights bound to Dubai, passengers wearing VR glasses were able to view the moving landscape below them as a 3D map and immerse themselves in places of interest as they took part in 360-degree virtual excursions.
The passengers were on LH630 flight from Frankfurt to Dubai. They were the first to experience the airline’s VR prototype, and as they flew over Vienna, some passengers were able to virtually ride the Prater Ferris Wheel while others "attended" one of the city’s classical concerts.
Lufthansa created the technology in cooperation with 3spin, a digital product design and development company, in order to provide enhanced customer experience.
“Gazing out of the window, I have often thought to myself: Where are we and what is going on down there. Our idea is based on that thought,” said Thomas Hoger of 3spin.
This is not the first time an airline has used VR technology to boost customer experience. Emirates announced in July that using VR technology, flyers can now check out in advance what their plane is going to look like or where their seats are. The airline has recently introduced 3D seat models on its website, allowing passengers to view in advance the aircraft they have booked.
According to Paul Schön, passenger experience designer for Lufthansa, the Frankfurt to Dubai flight was a first-time test for their new VR prototype.
“I’m pleased to say this virtual exploration trip was very positively received by the participating passengers.”
How it works
According to 3spin on its website, the new VR experience is made possible by a smart phone app which accesses on-board flight data via WLAN.
“The position of the plane is then combined with 3D data. A smart phone is slid into a pair of Samsung Gear VR glasses and one can now observe the landscape beneath the plane.”