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Qantas offers virtual experience of Australia before flights

A new virtual reality (VR) app has been launched by Qantas - and it is intended to offer customers an interactive means of exploring Australian destinations before they physically travel there.

Dubbed Qantas VR, the app is available for iPhone, Android, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive devices. 

Never before seen aerial footage of Uluru and Kata Tjuta is arguably the highlight of the app's series of immersive videos, which showcases some of Australia's most distinctive landscapes. 

Two modes are offered by the app - traditional landscape video footage for viewing directly on a smartphone and split screen for those who have a compatible headset or Google Cardboard. 

Qantas flights to the featured destinations can be booked directly from the app - and while this is limited to 13 locations at launch, additional content will be progressively rolled out over the coming weeks and months. 

VR was first offered to Qantas customers last year, with Samsung Gear VR headsets trialled in an industry first in the national carrier's first class cabins and lounges.

Australian virtual reality company, Start VR created the app - and chief executive and creative director of the firm Kain Tietzel said it opens up new opportunities for prospective holidaymakers researching the locations to which they are travelling. 

"The app allows us to share the story of Australia to an international audience in a way that is more intimate, engaging and interactive than we have been able to tell it before," he commented, adding that it can provide a taste of the country's culture, heritage and local stories. 

Olivia Wirth, executive of brand, marketing and corporate affairs for the Qantas Group, said: "Anyone with an iPhone or Android phone can take a virtual tour of Kakadu National Park, for instance, then book a flight directly from the app and see it in person."

The app can be downloaded free from the Apple App Store, Google Play, or directly from compatible headset app stores.

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