Emirates has launched a VR app allowing curious travellers a chance to explore the airline’s first class suites, lounge and showers. In the future, people will also be able to book tickets from inside the VR cabin. Jenny Southan reports

Described as an “industry first”, Emirates’ new VR app for the Oculus headset provides “accurate, life-size and interactive cabin interior experiences” onboard Emirates’ flagship A380 aircraft and Boeing 777-300ER Gamechanger plane.

Available via the Emirates app, as well as the Oculus store for Oculus Rift users, Emirates has taken the next step in its ambition to reach and engage audiences around the world with cutting-edge VR technology.

Created in partnership with technology company Renacen, Emirates’ customers can navigate economy, business and first class cabins, explore their seats and even the famous Shower Spa on the A380 using “navigational hotspots”.

Users can “pick up” items from the lounge, “turn on” the shower in the Shower Spa, and “close” the private suite doors behind them. They can even go in the cockpit. (Emirates is working on an updated version featuring its premium economy cabin and latest A380 aircraft interiors.)

To help prepare for a flight, users can look at their seats before checking in online with a 3D seat map. The tool allows people to navigate from one seat to another, and even allows them to book their preferred seats from within the 3D environment.

Users can also enjoy hands-free cabin navigation and seat selection by using any VR headset like Google Cardboard. This award-winning technology is compatible with all devices without the need for external applications or plugins.

In the future, Emirates plans to offer customers the ability to explore destinations, select a cabin, and book and pay for their Emirates flight from within the Emirates Oculus VR app.

Boutros Boutros, Emirates’ divisional senior vice-president of corporate communications, marketing and brand, says: “Emirates aims to provide innovative and outstanding customer experiences whether onboard, on the ground, or in the digital space.

“In 2018, we were the world’s first airline to introduce advanced web VR technology on our digital platforms, offering our customers an immersive opportunity to learn about the fantastic Emirates experience that awaited them before they stepped on board.

We’ve continued to invest and develop that experience, and today we are delighted to be the first airline to launch a fully-fledged Oculus VR app. This initiative expands our global reach and ability to engage with our audiences across digital platforms.

“It is also particularly relevant right now, as many people have not travelled for a while due to the pandemic, and are seeking inspiration and researching and rediscovering their flight options.”

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