Investors and airlines continue to support virtual reality as an inflight entertainment option. The technology scored a multi-million dollar boost this week, as Inflight VR secured additional funds to support the company’s growth.
With the message “Inflight VR is here to stay” the company announced a €2.5 million round of funding, bringing the total raised to date above €4 million. The company did not disclose the valuation at which the investment was made. The company intends to use the funds to support product rollouts with customers across industries and to help improve data collection around the use of the systems.
We believe in the tremendous opportunities VR provides for companies such as airlines or bus operators who push the envelope of their customers’ travel experience. From the beginning, we focused on a multi-dimensional ROI for our customers seeing VR as a business solution.– Moritz Engler, CoFounder and Chief Executive Officer of Inflight VR
The company also announced that Matthias Walther, formerly of Panasonic Avionics, Rockwell Collins, Lufthansa, and Condor has joined the company as Chief Marketing Officer. Walther had been working with Inflight VR on a consulting basis in recent months before taking the full time role.
Separately, SkyLights VR announced a new trial partnership with British Airways. The two companies will make the AlloSky headsets available to first class passengers on the BA 117 service from London to JFK through the end of the year. British Airways is the first UK airline to trial the technology. The carrier worked with experts to select a range of therapeutic programs, including guided meditation and sound therapy, specifically designed for customers who have a fear of flying.
We are always looking at the latest technology to enhance our customers’ experience on the ground and in the air. Virtual reality has the power to revolutionize in-flight entertainment and we’re really excited to trial these new glasses as they should create a unique and memorable journey for our First customers.– Sajida Ismail, Head of Inflight Product at British Airways
SkyLights was a portfolio company in the IAG-backed Hangar 51 start-up accelerator. The company’s headsets previously were used in a trial program on the ground to familiarize passengers passing through Heathrow’s T5 with the Club World business class cabin via virtual reality.
Both companies continue their efforts to secure customers and deliver a financially viable solution to the inflight entertainment industry. To date most of the implementations focused on trial services, not full deployments. Iberia and Alaska Airlines are just two of the many that have tried the systems on board. And while the vendors continue to tout the passenger satisfaction numbers related to the trial programs a longer-term future for the technology on board remains uncertain.