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Airline Marketing Monthly - January 2019

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  • Airline
  • Mobile
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  • January
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The January issue of AMM, published on 22/1. This includes a special supplement inside the magazine on the mobile traveller, produced in association with Urban Airship.


AIRLINES AND VIRTUAL REALITY British Airways has teamed up with airline virtual reality specialists SkyLights to showcase BA’s Club World cabins. Using the SkyLights’ “AlloSky” VR headset, passengers can tour the cabin and get a view of everything from the lie flat seats, to the White Company bedding on offer. The idea is to run these trials at the airline’s main London Heathrow Terminal Five base, with a view to getting passengers to upgrade. Although in this case, the AlloSky headsets are being used to provide virtual premium cabin tours, SkyLight’s overall mission is in fact to use VR to transform in-flight entertainment. For example, in September the company announced trials with Alaska Airlines to provide content to first class passengers, via the headsets. The company has also partnered with both Emirates and Etihad to run trials in the airlines’ lounges. Other airlines and virtual reality British Airways is of course not the first company to experiment with VR headsets. For example, in the Autumn of 2017, KLM ran a stunt in the US encouraging passengers on low fare carriers to trade up (Fast Company was not a fan calling it “a VR marketing ploy to make budget flyers feel bad.”). Meanwhile Lufthansa has made virtual reality a core component of its marketing strategy. An article by VR Studio Meraki outlines some of the different initiatives, ranging from headsets encouraging last minute upgrades to premium economy, to virtual tours of destinations such as Hong Kong, Miami and Tokyo. 18 Airline Marketing Monthly - January 2019

In addition to SkyLight, another vendor looking to provide entertainment and content via virtual reality headsets is Inflight VR. In October, the company announced that it would be partnering with Star Alliance to offering virtual reality entertainment powered by Inflight VR, initially in its business lounges at Paris Charles de Gaulle and at Rome – Fiumicino airport. Inflight VR has also worked with Iberia and the now defunct Small Planet Airlines. For now, VR headsets as in-flight entertainment are at a very early stage, with most airlines only running limited tests. However an Economist article from October, sets out some of the reasons why VR headsets could prove to be attractive for airlines in the future. They are lighter than seat back entertainment systems, and there’s scope for selling products on top of VR content. The example given is a passenger who watches a short clip of a Broadway musical on a flight to New York, after which s/he is given the opportunity to buy tickets for the show. World’s first ‘virtual airline’ lets you fly to Paris, New York or Rome Meanwhile you can now use virtual reality to simulate the whole experience of an airline flight, without leaving the ground. Last year the media reported that ‘First Airlines’ was starting up as the world’s first so-called virtual airline. Based in Tokyo, you can take your seat in a First Airlines “A340” or “A380”, take off and then fly to one of Paris, New York, Rome or Hawaii. Time Out Tokyo tried out the experience on a virtual flight to Paris and was “pleasantly surprised.” The ‘airline’ offers the whole range of experiences from boarding announcements, to safety demonstrations to in-flight meals. Time Out said that the effect of all this is that: “Bizarrely enough, the entire thing gives you some very real travel buzz.” Airline Marketing Monthly - January 2019 19

Airline Marketing Monthly

Airline Marketing Monthly - January 2019
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