Skift Take

The Meta Quest virtual reality headset was designed for the ground, but a new update makes them useable while flying. Now, the company is pushing them as an in-flight entertainment option.

Meta announced “Travel Mode” on Monday for versions 2 and 3 of its Quest virtual reality headsets, an update that allows them to be used while flying.

That means travelers can now use those headsets to watch movies, play games, and answer emails while on an airplane

“Using Quest on a plane previously wasn’t possible, since its tracking technology was designed for on-the-ground use, meaning that virtual objects and windows would drift when on a moving vehicle,” Meta said in a statement to Skift. “But after we specially tuned the algorithms to account for a plane’s motion, you can now use Quest on a plane with a stable and consistent experience.”

In addition, Meta is partnering with Lufthsana to put Quest 3 headsets — containing the new Travel Mode features along with custom content — on airplanes for certain business class travelers. 

Mark Zuckerberg announced the tech update Monday on his Instagram account along with a promotional video, viewable below:

For flights with complimentary Wi-Fi, Meta said the headset may detect the network and prompt the user to join. It would then automatically launch the browser for access to the airline’s selection of movies and TV shows. Or, the user can watch the movies already downloaded to their Quest library.

Depending on the airline, the headset may automatically detect when on an airplane and prompt the user to activate Travel Mode. 

Travel Mode is optimized only for planes right now, but the company plans to later add support for other modes of transportation, like trains.

Pictured: The view through a Quest headset on Travel Mode as a user interacts with the Meta AI chatbot on Whatsapp. Source: Meta

Lufthansa Partnership 

Beginning this summer, Lufthansa is making Quest 3 headsets and specialized content available for travelers flying in the new Allegris Business Class Suite.

Meta said that this is the first airline offering this device on commercial flights. 

Lufthansa Group is investing $2.7 billion (€2.5 billion) to create the Allegris suites for long-haul flights. The newly outfitted planes have private flying rooms with large seats, personal wardrobes, dining tables, and more. The first commercial flight of a plane with the suite was on May 1.

The custom content will be accessible only through the provided Quest 3 headsets. And the content will be pre-loaded into the headsets, ensuring access even when there is no Wi-Fi connection.

Some of the custom content for Lufthansa:

  • Episodes from travel podcasters with 360-degree videos for select content
  • Select movies and TV shows
  • Virtual sightseeing previews of the travel destination from a bird’s-eye view
  • Games including Connect Four and Chess
  • Meditation exercises
A virtual view through a Quest 3 headset in Travel Mode.

The company is compiling the content and providing device setup, distribution, management, and technical support.

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Tags: airlines, business travel, lufthansa, meta, quest, the prompt, virtual reality

Photo credit: Pictured: The view through a Meta Quest VR headset in Travel Mode. Meta

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