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  • Tausif Mulla

The Reality of Metaverse in Aviation: Will It Replace Travel?

The metaverse is often spoken about in the context of replacing travel, but is this really the case? There are many who believe that the metaverse will not only complement real-world trips but could also be used in exciting ways such as giving people the chance to experience a place virtually before they book. While there is no doubt that virtual reality can provide an amazing escapist experience, it seems that it will not be able to fully replace the desire – and even need – for travel.

Photo by Bradley Hook on Pexels

Who stands to gain the most from travel and the metaverse?

First to benefit is Meta (previously Facebook). He is putting his money where his mouth is, laying down the gauntlet and defining our future.

Second, as a result of the metaverse's ready availability, innovative brands and businesses are quick to produce goods and virtual experiences that can be sold. These brands have the money and resources to make the metaverse a reality.

Third, are you and me – the people who want to travel and explore without spending a fortune or putting our lives at risk.

Last but not least, advertisers. There will be a lot of opportunities to promote real-world items, journeys, airlines, and hotels in the virtual world - with the option of having 'click to book' built-in.

Another significant step will be to incorporate crypto payments because bitcoin has not previously had a lot to spend – it's mostly being traded.

Why are airlines investing in the Metaverse?

The state airline of Dubai, Emirates Airlines, is the most recent entrant and has pledged $10 million to establish its trademark experience in the Metaverse. And it's not just them. All of the major airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, and Qantas are attempting to get a piece of the metaverse.

Another example is Qatar Airways' recent presence in Metaverse. QVerse is a virtual reality application developed by the airline that allows customers to look inside the aircraft from the comfort of their own homes. The experience includes a virtual walkthrough of the premium check-in area, as well as a thorough presentation of the cabin. In addition, the airline launched the first Meta-human cabin crew, who will interact with consumers and offer virtual walks of both business and economy class.

It's not anything new. These benefits have always been available. It's just the package as a whole. Some airlines are even looking at producing special edition Non-Fungible Tokens [NFT]. It might lead to a one-of-a-kind trip, such as a retirement aircraft flight, an exotic destination flight, or a flight dedicated to a cause.

The significance is that the Metaverse has opened up a whole new digital economy. It is a way for airlines to increase ancillary revenue and at the same time, create loyalty among their customer base.

What does this mean for travellers?

The metaverse will give people the ability to trial-run a destination before they book – something that has been previously impossible. It will also provide opportunities for those with physical limitations to explore the world in a way that is not possible in the real world.

However, it is important to remember that the metaverse is still in its infancy. While there are some incredible examples of what is possible, we are still a long way off from seeing widespread adoption. It will be interesting to see how the metaverse develops over the next few years and what impact it will have on the travel industry.

Concluding thoughts

The metaverse has the potential to revolutionize travel and bring about a whole new era of exploration. It will provide people with the ability to trial-run destinations before they book, as well as give those with physical limitations the opportunity to explore the world in a way that is not possible in the real world.

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