With Christmas fast approaching and many people afraid to travel due to the coronavirus, Finland’s national flag carrier Finnair is offering €10 virtual reality (VT) flights that you can take while relaxing on the sofa. In an announcement today, the Helsinki-based airline is offering families the chance to fly with them virtually to visit Santa Claus in Lapland.
From Christmas Day, the 25th of December, Finnair will offer eight virtual flights where families will have the opportunity to visit Santa in his hometown of Rovaniemi, thanks to the magic of virtual reality. Finnair, which also happens to be the official airline of Santa Claus, uses virtual reality to give viewers a spectacular 360-degree experience.
VR passengers get to visit Santa
The Finnair visit Santa flights have been created by a Finnish virtual reality studio called “Zoan,” which uses the most advanced Unreal Engine real-time 3D graphics tool. Virtual reality customers can access the special flights on their computers, laptops, or mobile phones and be able to imagine what it is like flying in Finnair’s comfortable Nordic business class. For the best experience, Finnair recommends you connect a VR headset to your mobile phone.
While on the journey from Helsinki to Lapland, you can enjoy the aurora borealis (northern lights), admire the shining stars, and even have a drink served to you by the Finnair cabin crew. After landing in the snowy northern city of Rovaniemi, VR passengers can cross the Arctic Circle to visit Santa Claus in his cabin.
The flights last 30 minutes
Each of the virtual reality flights to visit Santa Claus in Lapland lasts around 30 minutes and can be purchased from the Finnair Shop for 10€. Besides the thrill of a festive experience, lucky customers can feel good knowing that all the proceeds are being donated towards UNICEF’s work to slow the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the pandemic’s impact on children worldwide.
“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.”
Sanna Kärkkäinen, CEO of Visit Rovaniemi, added:
“The time could not be better for a holiday VR experience on the wings of Santa’s official airline. We’ve been developing our VR experience in Rovaniemi for over a year now, and joining forces with Finnair is a fantastic way to reach a global audience with a seasonal message – and a heart full of hope.”
Finnair has been using VR since 2016
One of the main barriers to the growth of virtual reality has been a lack of high-quality content. Now Finnair is hoping to overcome this after getting involved in the technology to showcase its Airbus A350 cabin experience at industry events. Since first adopting virtual reality in 2016, Finnair demonstrates how it is possible to make online videos or meetings a more enjoyable and engaging experience with its virtual reality presentations.
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 personalized so that customers can customize and enhance their journey to fit their individual needs and preferences. VR could also be a valuable tool here.”
Knowing that Finnair is donating your €10 to UNICEF is reason enough to take the virtual reality trip to visit Santa Claus in Lapland.
Do you plan on taking the VR flight? Please let us know what you think about it in the comments.