Will airlines struggle in the world of VR?

The promise of virtual reality has been with us quite some time. But now things are starting to look promising on the short term. Olcus Rift, Hololens, and Samsung VR-goggles are already on sale, or will be hitting the market anytime soon. For now, we see a lot of playing around with virtual reality. It seems ideal for gaming & watching movies (the first VR-movietheatre will be in my hometown Amsterdam!).
Oooohhh. So real!

But if we take it a few steps further: how will this impact the businesses of airlines? Today, if you want to meet a businesspartner it is important to see each other. The phone is unsufficient for that purpose, Skype is ok, but still sluggish, so we fly. We fly a lot: 3,5 billion people per year. And although flying is (in my experience) most of the time pleasant, it is very time consuming. Arrive on time, check in, boarding, flying, customs, travel from airport, meeting, and then: back again!

What would happen if VR is so great that you forget that it is not real? If you see different people reacting on VR-goggles now, you’ll see that people find it very real already! Please check this hilarious video where people start watching VR-porn. (SFW). Now, lets go 10 years ahead. The technique is much better, connections are better, the image more vivid. The businesscase of meeting in VR is growing.

Why fly? If you can meet someone in VR?
Why fly? If you can meet someone in VR?

What will flying have to offer? Will they be faster? I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Ok, the food will be better (hopefully), but can they make it less time consuming? With the international scare for terrorism flying seems to take more time then less… So, what will the advantage of an airplane be?


Innovation is sometimes cutting in your own flesh. If I would be an airline CEO, I would start experimenting with VR holodecks now!


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Rens de Jong