World’s First Virtual Airline Provides a Real Plane

Miss flying on an airplane? Perhaps due to COVID-19 restrictions or lack of time and funds you aren’t able to travel to your favorite destination. One Japanese “airline” is allowing you to get the full flying experience and travel to some of the most popular cities around the globe without leaving the ground thanks to virtual reality.

Japan’s First Airlines is the “World’s First Virtual Aviation Facility”. They provide customers with a complete flying experience without even taking to the air. Passengers get to sit in a real airplane and follow all the normal cabin procedures.

The whole process is just like going to a real airport sans the security line. Reservations are needed beforehand. Customers must travel to the Ikebukuro International Airport which is located in Toshima City, Tokyo. Upon arriving at the “airport”, they’ll receive boarding passes and will be able to check-in which starts 15 minutes before departure.

VR Airline First Airlines Virtual Reality Japan - YellRobot
credit: Reuters

VR Airline Flies All Over the Glove

When the passenger boards the “flight”, they are given a VR headset. They’ll then get in their seat (business or first class) and experience a simulated world above the clouds. Customers can “travel” to and get tours of places such as New York, London, New Zealand, Rome, and Helsinki.

“I often go overseas on business, but I haven’t been to Italy. My impression was rather good because I got a sense of actually seeing things there,” said one passenger.

First Airlines Features Real Crew Members

The plane features real crew members who give announcements, demonstrations, and offer in-flight sales. The safety demonstration even includes a real life vest and oxygen mask. There is also an in-flight meal which is customized to the the virtual destination being flown to. So if you are flying to say Paris, you’ll get a choice of some French cuisine.

According to the company, bookings are up about 50 percent since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The best part of the whole experience is that tickets only cost around each $62 each which is much less than a “normal” flight.

“We get some customers who normally travel to Hawaii every year and they can experience some of that here,” said First Airlines President Hiroaki Abe.

image source: Reuters

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