NEWS: Missing flying? Take a special VR Santa flight with Finnair from home & More BA B747s arrive at their forever home

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Missing flying? Take a special VR flight with Finnair from home

Families will soon be able to fly with Finnair to see Santa in Lapland, thanks to the magic of virtual reality (VR). From 25 December, Finnair will offer eight ‘flights’ using virtual reality to transport lucky families and children to visit Santa in his hometown of Rovaniemi.

Finnair, which is Santa’s official airline, is using VR to offer customers an immersive 360-degree experience. The flights are created by Finnish VR studio Zoan with one of the most advanced real-time 3D graphics tools, Unreal Engine. Virtual customers can enjoy a flight on their mobile phones or laptops where they will experience the thrill of sitting in Finnair’s comfortable Nordic Business Class. You can also use a VR headset that can access a web browser and open a video. 

You can enjoy refreshments served by cabin crew, admire the starry skies and gaze upon the dramatic northern lights from your ‘seat’. The VR experience will also offer familiar flight soundscapes, festive decorations and perhaps even the glimpse of a familiar festive figure sitting in one of the other seats! After landing in the wintry city of Rovaniemi, customers will be able to cross the Arctic Circle and enter Santa’s cabin to meet Santa Claus himself.

Each of the eight VR flights to Lapland lasts about thirty minutes and costs just €10 per person. Seats can be reserved from the Finnair Shop. Besides experiencing something wonderfully festive, lucky customers who board the virtual flight will also be giving something towards those who are less fortunate and need help. All proceeds will go to supporting UNICEF’s work to slow the spread of Covid-19 and minimise the pandemic’s impact on children worldwide.

Mikko Turtiainen, Finnair VP of Global Sales, said: “Thanks to the magic of Virtual Reality, Finnair can ‘fly’ families to Rovaniemi in Lapland – despite the travel restrictions – to enjoy a winter wonderland and meet Santa. I hope this brings a big smile to those participating.”

“As Santa’s official airline, we’re excited to harness modern technology to create a truly memorable holiday experience. Our customers around the world will be able to enjoy the timeless wonder and holiday cheer of Finnish Lapland from the comfort of their own homes, while enjoying the thrill of sitting in Finnair Business Class. We hope it will inspire them to travel again once the time is right.”

The lack of high-quality content offerings has been one of the biggest barriers to mainstream adoption of VR technologies, but Finnair has been pioneering VR since 2016. It first used VR to showcase its Airbus A350 cabin experience at industry events with specially provided headsets.

The Covid-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst to speed up the adoption of virtual experiences among consumers. As people have become more comfortable with virtual reality, Finnair has been able to demonstrate through the VR flight concept that mainstream virtual events can go beyond simple online meetings or videos to create a more meaningful and engaging experience.

Tiina Tissari, VP of Customer Experience and Products at Finnair, said: “We think VR is an important tool which could be used to complement the physical in-flight experience. Customers could, for instance, choose their holiday destination or make travel plans by checking out sights and locations through VR. We also believe the in-flight experience will become more personalised so that customers can customise and enhance their journey to fit their individual needs and preferences. VR could also be a valuable tool here.”

The flight is only available in English. Read more about the virtual Finnair flight to see Santa on Blue Wings online. 

Would you try one of these virtual flights? Let us know in the comments below. 


More BA B747s arrive at their forever home

One of British Airways’ last remaining Boeing 747 aircraft took to the skies for the final time this weekend, setting off for its new home at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey.

Adorned in the iconic Landor livery, the heritage Centenary jumbo jet – registration G-BNLY – departed from British Airways’ engineering base in Cardiff on Saturday afternoon.

Since entering the British Airways fleet on 1 February 1993, G-BNLY has operated 14,016 flights and flown for more than 122,358 hours over nearly 60million miles. Its last passenger flight was from Cape Town to Heathrow on 22 March 2020.

Following its short journey to Dunsfold, where it will be preserved for future generations to enjoy, it performed a final fly over before being welcomed by a small crowd of enthusiastic spectators.

You can see the full video here. 


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