Finnair virtual flight aircraft with northern lights in background
 Finnair’s virtual flight, realised by ZOAN, guarantees breathtaking scenery. Image: Finnair

Finnair takes customers on VR flight to meet Santa Claus

Finnair and ZOAN will take families to Rovaniemi to meet Santa Claus with the help of VR technology.

Christmas comes early this year as the two Finnish companies have announced a campaign to merge the magic of VR and Christmas in an effort to bring the spirit of the season to global audiences. All earnings from the campaign will be donated to UNICEF to minimise the impact of the pandemic on the lives of children worldwide.

“Thanks to the magic of virtual reality, Finnair can ‘fly’ families to Rovaniemi in Lapland – despite the travel restrictions – to enjoy a winter wonderland and meet Santa. I hope this brings a big smile to those participating,” commented Mikko Turtiainen, VP of global sales at Finnair.

Santa Claus village

A virtual trip to Rovaniemi includes a visit to Santa Claus Village. Image: Visit Rovaniemi

The experience can be enjoyed from personal VR devices, laptops and mobile phones. It will include a first-class flight with refreshments and guaranteed northern lights, as well as a surprise guest.

“As Santa’s official airline, we’re excited to harness modern technology to create a truly memorable holiday experience. Our customers around the world will be able to enjoy the timeless wonder and holiday cheer of Finnish Lapland from the comfort of their own homes, while enjoying the thrill of sitting in Finnair Business Class.”

Finnair has invested in developing VR technologies since 2016 and believes the pandemic has driven up the need for virtual experiences in its industry. ZOAN has racked up an impressive portfolio since its founding in 2010 and worked with the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, and the City of Helsinki, helping the latter to hold a virtual concert that gathered 1.4 million viewers. The collaboration has a high likelihood of resonating far beyond the holiday season.

“We think VR is an important tool which could be used to complement the physical in-flight experience,” envisioned Tiina Tissari, VP of customer experience at Finnair.

“Customers could, for instance, choose their holiday destination or make travel plans by checking out sights and locations through VR. We also believe the in-flight experience will become more personalised so that customers can customise and enhance their journey to fit their individual needs and preferences.”

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