December 22, 2014
This weekend we delighted our passengers with a very special Christmas flight experience.
Travellers on board our 787 Dreamliner on 21 December from London Heathrow to Boston were surprised by some very important visitors as Santa dropped by the aircraft during a trans-Atlantic reindeer training flight.
“We wanted to offer something extra special for the families flying with us this Christmas,” said Debbie Hulme, our Head of Customer Experience. “And who better to spread the Christmas cheer than Santa himself?
“Combining a large sprinkle of Christmas magic and in-flight connectivity, we arranged for Santa and his reindeer to pay a flying visit to customers on board our 787 aircraft as it flew across the Atlantic to Boston. Passengers tracked his movements from their Windows tablets and were able to live chat with him before sharing their Santa selfies using the on board wifi.”
The experience began at boarding, when all 264 customers onboard VS11 were given an early Christmas present from Microsoft of a Windows tablet. Once on board they could log on to Norad Track Santa and also enjoy a live chat as he took his sleigh for a spin over the Atlantic.
When the aircraft was over Greenland, Santa radioed our pilots asking permission to land on the plane for some refreshments and to also give his reindeers a rest.
Passengers were then amazed to watch the sleigh land on the aircraft through special glass panels in the roof before he accessed the plane through a special Santa hatch.
Santa then walked down the aisles, delighting children and taking selfies with surprised passengers before jetting back off into the night sky.
Christmas continued for those on the plane with Microsoft prizes of Xboxes and Windows devices from Dell, Lenovo & Nokia being won in competitions during the flight.
“The chance to create the first 4D experience in flight for passengers where technology was the enabler of bringing Christmas to life was a fantastic opportunity for Microsoft,” said Fred Warren, Creative Director, Microsoft Connected Digital Services. “Co-creating this concept with Virgin Atlantic has been unique as we adapted the technology to deliver a true Virgin Atlantic brand experience.”