Spreading Christmas cheer in European skies with Virgin Atlantic

Flight VS011 from Heathrow to Boston took on a distinctly festive feel as teams from Microsoft and Virgin Atlantic injected a taste of Christmas enabled via some very cool technology. As well as putting a few smiles on faces, the aim was to show passengers what could be possible on future flights as digital technologies play an ever more important role in delivering a great experience.

So with a little help from Santa, Microsoft and Virgin Atlantic set out to put the magic back into flying. Passengers were greeted with a special gift of a Windows tablet on arrival. Especially for the younger passengers (as well as some of the bigger kids) on the flight, the tablets played an important role in tracking Santa’s journey from the comfort of their seats via the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Track Santa service.

Near the coast of Greenland, Santa’s reindeer caught up with the Virgin Atlantic 787 Dreamliner to ‘meet’ passengers on board. Via a series of projections on to the cabin ceiling, passengers watched the sleigh land on the aircraft before then 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.


Debbie Hulme, Head of Customer Experience at Virgin Atlantic commented: “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? 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.

Hulme continued: “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.”


Fred Warren, Creative Director, Microsoft Connected Digital Services added: “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. We were able to give passengers a glimpse of what is possible from more immersive flight experiences.”

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