Travelers Are Paying Real Money To Take VR Flights To Nowhere

Satisfy your traveling bug with this bizarre VR traveling experience.

Several airlines have begun using VR technology to immerse “travelers” in exotic locations such as the Colosseum and Pantheon in Rome, New York Times Square in NYC, Market Square in Helsinki, and Fiordland National Park in New Zealand, all without leaving their respective countries.

First Airlines is one such company offering this remote traveling experience, going so far as to call themselves the world’s “first virtual aviation facility”. “Passengers” can purchase tickets to board one of their VR flights, each of which designed to replicate the experience of a real commercial flight. Since the COVID19 Pandemic started, the company has seen a 50% jump in ticket sales and now require advanced reservations.

Here’s how it works:

The experience starts with using your official boarding pass to enter the “aircraft.'” Once you’ve boarded the plane, airline attendants will enter the cabin and begin reviewing proper safety procedures, just as they would during a real flight. Your “trip” even includes a four-course meal and drink service. Unfortunately, there’s no mention of any complimentary stroopwafel.

To better immerse you in the experience, each window has been replaced by a hi-def monitor showing images of passing clouds. During your flight, you can wear a VR headset and explore various destinations and cultures from around the world, no passport required.

These mock travel experiences might seem a little strange at first glance, but the more you think about it the more reasonable it sounds. Honestly, it’s no different than visiting the movies or catching a professional baseball game. The cost of one VR boarding pass will cost you $62, offering you a first-class flying experience at half the price of a real seat.

First Airlines isn’t the only airline doing these types of virtual flight experiences. EVAAir’s Hello Kitty Dream Jet, an actual flight in the US that has been around since 2017, features a wonderful Hello Kitty-themed flying experience designed specifically for fans of the Japanese icon. Unfortunately, the all-pink aircraft has remained grounded due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, much to the dismay of Hello Kitty super fans.

To make up for it, EVEAir hosted a Hello Kitty flight during Taiwanese Father’s Day on August 8th during which passengers boarded a plane that departed from Taiwan’s Taoyuan airport and then circled the coastline of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands. Those who dropped $180 for a ticket were able to spend a few hours overlooking the scenery of Taiwan’s east coastline from a level that airplanes don’t normally fly at.

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt travel plans for millions of people around the world, these virtual flights could be just what vagabonds need to scratch that traveling itch.

Image Credit: Reuters, First Airlines

About the Scout

Bobby Carlton

Hello, my name is Bobby Carlton. When I'm not exploring the world of immersive technology, I'm writing rock songs about lost love. I'd also like to mention that I can do 25 push-ups in a row.

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