Are virtual reality helmets the future of flying?

virtual reality
Johnny Mnemonic/Sony Pictures

In an attempt to replace your terrible in-flight reality full of these awful peeps, with a pleasant, virtual one (and maybe curb your air rage in the process), Airbus has just filed a patent for a virtual reality helmet.

Ok, so it’s not exactly virtual reality – think of it more like a personal movie theater on your head.
According to the patent filing, Airbus notes that passengers get bored both before takeoff and following landing, as well as during cruise phases (so... the entire flight?). They also acknowledge that flying stresses people out, and that the movies, games, and meals currently offered on-board aren’t enough to relieve the boredom and stress that turns everyone on the plane into a world-class d-bag.

To solve these apparent problems, Airbus developed Patent US8814266 B2: individual helmets that are attached to the seats and offer total “sensorial isolation”.

Sounds futuristic and lonely, right? Maybe? Well, actually the level of isolation is up to you; each helmet can be configured from dead-to-the-world to calmly-cruising. Not only do helmets allow for full immersion into your music, movies, or games, but they’re also multi-sensory, meaning there’s sound, sight, and even smell. That sweaty dude sitting in the middle seat could suddenly smell like a meadow full of flowers.

On top of that, the helmets will house mini-airbags for added safety and be able to project a keyboard onto the tray table for people that can’t quite escape reality completely and need to do some work.

That said, this is just a patent – when or even if they’ll become a reality is anyone’s guess.

Sophie-Claire Hoeller is Thrillist's associate travel editor, and convinced she did something bad in a previous life that's cursed her to always fly within three rows of a screaming child. Follow her @Sohostyle.