KLM Gives Budget Travelers a First-Class VR Upgrade

KLM distributed VR headsets to budget airline passengers of other airlines so they could feel like they were flying KLM.

Luxury airline Royal Dutch Airlines, or KLM, recently launched a new PR campaign called the KLM Flight Upgraderwhich allows budget airline passengers to experience a first-class KLM flight right from their seat in coach.

KLM distributed cardboard VR headsets bearing the label, “Do not disturb, pretending to fly KLM” to passengers on competing airlines and invited them to explore their VR app, which launched in January.

The app featured the amenities available on a KLM flight like the leg room, entertainment display, and food that would all be on board a KLM flight.

“Just pop this thing on your head and you can use virtual reality to escape the real reality of your flight,” the narrator of the KLM Flight Upgrader video says.

KLM, which can cost upward of thousands of dollars a ticket, is offering travelers a virtual experience they may not be able to enjoy in reality. But there has also been debate as to whether the move is a stimulating experience or something more cynical.

Cale Guthrie Weissman of Fast Company argues the virtual experience is snobby and is rubbing coach passengers’ face in an experience they will not be able to reasonably afford.

“The VR session makes it feel like you’re sitting in an aisle seat talking to a flight attendant,” Weissman said. “Because there’s no better way to forget you’re in a cramped flying box by pretending you’re in another, slightly better-cramped flying box.”

Regardless, it is still a refreshing VR integration and would not be surprising if other companies employed a similar marketing campaign. Imagine exploring luxury grocery stores or retail spaces virtually from more commonplace stores.

For those who wish to explore the KLM Flight Upgrader for themselves, the app is available for free on the App Store and Google Play store. The KLM cardboard headsets are also available at the KLM website.

About the Scout

Allison Hollender

Allison is a Bay Area journalist reporting for VRScout. Follow her attempts at jokes @alleyrenee16.

Send this to a friend