Microsoft and Virgin Atlantic Airways brought some special Christmas cheer to flyers on the airline’s London-to-Boston flight over the last weekend before Christmas.
Using projection digital signage tech, the airline showed the Christmas icon and his reindeer landing on top of the plane before St. Nick came into the plane through its special “Santa hatch,” visiting with passengers and taking Santa selfies with children, families and flight attendants before heading back out to his sled and “jetting back off into the night sky,” according to Virgin founder Richard Branson’s blog.
Before boarding, the passengers were given early Christmas presents from Microsoft — Windows tablets for all. The passengers could use the tablets to track Santa on NORAD’s Santa Tracker, and somewhere near the coast of Greenland, Santa’s sleigh caught up with the flight and he decided to come inside to say hello to the passengers, according to an announcement from Microsoft:
Via a series of projections onto the cabin ceiling, passengers watched the sleigh land on the aircraft before [Santa came] walking down the aisles, delighting children and taking selfies with surprised passengers. The passengers were then able to watch Santa prepare his crew for departure before heading off into the night sky.
“We wanted to offer something extra special for the families flying with us this Christmas, and who better to spread the Christmas cheer than Santa himself?” Virgin Atlantic Head of Customer Experience Debbie Hulme said in the Microsoft announcement. “We decided to partner with Microsoft as it was the only provider that could offer the breadth of cool technology that Virgin Atlantic passengers expect from us … Microsoft is also providing us with the analytics to look at how passengers interacted with the technology so we can work out what they enjoyed the most. This will enable us to continually improve and innovate. Expect to see more from Virgin Atlantic and Microsoft in 2015.”
“Through this experience we are looking to explore how the aircraft can be brought to life in different ways via the use of digital technologies to amplify the amazing service that is offered to customers today and how passengers engage after the flight,” Microsoft Connected Digital Services Creative Director Fred Warren said in the announcement. “We were able to give passengers a glimpse of what is possible from more immersive flight experiences.”
Watch a video from Virgin about Santa’s surprise visit here: