Chinese airline Hainan Airlines has partnered with tech startup Rokid to offer passengers free use of augmented reality glasses as in-flight entertainment. This move marks the first time AR glasses are being used at scale on flights, allowing passengers to enjoy 3D movies, e-books, and simple games without the need for built-in viewing monitors. Rokid’s founder and CEO, Misa Zhu, views the airline partnership as more of a marketing effort to boost consumer awareness of AR glasses, rather than a large commercial deal.
According to Zhu, Hainan Airlines has purchased hundreds of Rokid AR glasses for passengers to use on over 20 flights for free, as part of an initial trial period set to coincide with China’s weeklong Lunar New Year holiday. The glasses, each weighing 75 grams and retailing for just over $420, represent a convenient and cost-effective entertainment option for travelers. Rokid is also in negotiations to implement AR glasses into other means of transit, such as high-speed trains.
In comparison to Apple’s Vision Pro, which costs about $3,500 and is not yet available in China, Rokid’s AR glasses offer an affordable and accessible in-flight entertainment solution. Zhu revealed that Rokid is in discussions with numerous airlines, including a major international operator, for similar partnerships. Despite the initial trial period being set for just a month, the move presents an exciting opportunity for airlines to enhance their services and remain competitive, particularly during high-travel periods like the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.