Air France is one of the oldest airlines in the industry. It is, as most things from the beautiful nation of France are, kinda stuffy and old-school. This is exactly why it decided to launch a new “spinoff” airline to target millenials, called Joon. A quick tour of their website shows that while even the in-flight crew uniforms are a Departure (pun very much intended) from what we are accustomed (I can’t help myself with the puns!) to seeing.
So what’s the best way to attract Millenials, other than actual fair pricing and flexibility, two things airlines are most definitely not known for? You guessed it: in-flight entertainment in the form of Virtual Reality headsets.
We reported back in August that Air France had been running tests with VR headsets and content, viaAmerican-French San Francisco-based startup SkyLights. The pilot project (The Puns are so easy on this one, haha!) being a success, the association continues through this collaboration, and SkyLights has also announced that it will unveil its second-generation immersive cinema headset (pictured below) at APEX EXPO in Long Beach, California, this week.
The headset, called AlloSky, resembles a sleek pair of aviator sunglasses and comes with fresh content deals signed with Warner Brothers, National Geographic, Lionsgate and BBC. Airline launch partners for the in-flight entertainment solution include Air France, Joon, Corsair and Jetfly, in addition to partnerships with gategroup and Accor Hotels.
“We have identified what matters most,” David Dicko, CEO of SkyLights, said of the first-generation model called Bravo Theater, “and have kept this knowledge at the core of the second-generation solution. It’s more premium, more comfortable and has streamlined logistics. We believe this is a breakthrough, making the future of in-flight entertainment a reality today.”
AlloSky, which was created in partnership with immersive cinema eyewear company Allomind, will show 2-D, 3-D and 180-degree video content, as its predecessor Bravo Theater did, with the addition of 1080p image resolution and dioptric correction. The new headset is also 60 percent lighter than the first generation and can be connected to an in-seat power source.
Dicko says SkyLights is looking into tethering the headsets and storing them in the seats, instead of trolleys, to eliminate the need for distribution by cabin crew. The solution would require modification to supplemental type certificates (STCs), but Dicko expects approval by the second quarter of 2018. “This modus operandi has the benefit of reducing operational cost and complexity, and enabling the service with no crew action,” Dicko said.
Joon, Air France’s new millennial-targeted carrier, which is set to fly in the second quarter next year, is a great platform for AlloSky, according to Dicko: “It wants to be an innovation springboard for Air France; wants to move fast; propose a premium high-tech service to passengers. So the brand fit is particularly good.”
One thing stood out to me through all this information: the fact that the immersive content is 180º rather than 360º… And this makes me think that maybe the creators of 360VR content need to take this data to analyze how their 360º is storyboarded.