I am on a plane a couple of times a year and the experience is the same every time. I am in a small seat in the chair which is not uncomfortable but still a bit awkward and I usually either pick up a book or watch a movie that I have downloaded to my tablet. On this latest trip, I decided to download movies on my phone and watch them through a VR headset. There were no expectations, I mainly wanted to see if viewing in virtual reality is different from viewing on a tablet.
This was the best couple of flights I’ve ever had, I can’t recommend it enough! Here are some tips on how to get the most out of adding VR to your next flight.
Benefits of using VR while flying
If you are traveling alone and not traveling in first class, getting on a plane means sitting very close to someone you have never met before. Just about everyone has an airplane horror story, and they almost always have to do with the people you share the series with. Babies cry, pets lie at your feet, sit in the middle seat while people snore on either side of you, and the list goes on in the depths of sadness and bad times. Putting on good headphones can mentally distance yourself from all this, but a good virtual reality experience will take you as far from the real world as you can get when your body is flying through the air in a large metal tube.
Your VR headset replaces the world around you with the illusion of more space. Sitting in a virtual cinema, you feel like you have more room to stretch even if you don’t, which in turn helps your body relax during the flight. You can lean back and rest your head on the headrest, load up your favorite movie, and sit in the virtual silence of your virtual theater while everything else goes on.
This level of isolation isn’t particularly safe on local public transportation systems like buses and trains, where the chances of theft are much higher, but on an airplane, the experience makes a lot more sense. It’s easier to fade into the movie you’re watching, and the sound your movie creates can be adjusted to completely drown out the world around you or give you enough hearing to catch a flight attendant when it’s time for free drinks and snacks. , The bottom line is that you are in control of your experience, which is largely untrue when it comes to most other types of in-flight entertainment.
How to deal with VR on an airplane
The first thing you want to make sure is that you have a comfortable VR headset. Something portable that you can wear for two hours without getting uncomfortable. You’re unlikely to buy an Oculus Rift and a gaming laptop for this flight, which means you’re using either Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, or Samsung Gear VR. Most Google Cardboard headsets aren’t built for comfort, so you’re most likely using a Daydream View or Gear VR that’s been tuned to your ideal comfort level.
Unlike sitting on the couch in your living room, flying with VR turned on will cause some problems with your center of vision. You can sit still, but the plane around you is moving and the VR headset doesn’t know the difference. If the plane is slowly turning left or right, your image will drift as if you were slowly turning on a swivel chair. This means that you will need to periodically re-center your view in order to fix this. A workaround would be to use the Netflix Void Theater mode, but the Netflix VR app does not currently support the video download feature recently added to Netflix.
If you’re looking for an app that lets the video stay focused on your face while the plane is moving, then the app you’re most comfortable with is the one for you.
Daydream View owners have access to Google Play Movies, which supports offline mode, where you can attach movies for offline viewing. While browsing, you can use the Daydream controller to re-center your view if needed.
For Gear VR owners, Oculus Video is the best choice. Oculus Video required you to download your movies from another source, so I’ll be sure to test your videos on the app before I board the plane. When you’re ready to watch, Oculus Video will let you choose where you watch in VR, with a list of options, including the surface of the moon.
Obviously, the big disadvantage when watching movies in virtual reality on the phone is the increased battery drain. A two-hour movie on a Pixel XL player played locally typically consumes 17% battery, but this figure rises to 50% in VR. This is a problem for longer flights and a few movies, especially if you need your phone to act like a phone when you land. Even if you only watch one movie on a plane, two hours of isolation is often better than a 5-hour flight surrounded by strangers. You can also connect your phone to power while inside a VR headset if you have a portable battery or your plane has outlets, but you risk running into overheating issues depending on the phone you use for VR.
Are you going to give him a chance?
Have you tried using VR on an airplane before? Are you going to make sure a VR headset is nearby on your next flight? Share your experience in the comments!