With air travel now a necessity rather than a luxury, we expect more from our airlines than just getting us safely on the ground in time. We wanted that ‘something else’…and the airlines occasionally deliver.
Now every passenger flying Upper Class on Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic gets to have a drink with the man himself. He is cold, lacking in conversation and missing a torso but what the hell, he is an ice cube. Sir Richard will now be ‘flying in spirit’ with his customers, thanks to the bespoke Little Richards – complete with his signature grin and long, tousled hair –looming up at them from among the bubbles. Amusing, but just take care to not choke on the president’s head.
Air New Zealand, one of the sponsors of this year’s inaugural NZ PGA Pro Am Championship, brought the golfing spirit on-board with the ‘30,000ft in-flight putting challenge’. Travellers flying between Auckland and Queenstown during the five days prior to the tournament were treated to putting greens that ran down the aisles. Four passengers were invited to take up the challenge from each trip and the overall champion was awarded a VIP trip for two to watch the final day of the tournament and a brand new set of custom-fitted golf clubs.
It was going to be just another flight for the passengers flying Finnair down to Delhi on January 26. Or so they thought. In the mad scramble for peanuts and pillows, many might not have remembered that it was Republic Day back at home. That was until the Finnair crew, dressed in ethnic Indian wear, lined up along the aisles and performed a choreographed dance set to a popular Bollywood tune (Psst…it was Om Shanti Om). And if you have seen the videos of this incident that went viral, then you’d know the crowd totally lapped it up.
Imagine you have just settled down for a five-hour flight. The aircraft has reached cruising altitude and you are sitting uncomfortably, a nervous eye on the sick bag and waiting for solid ground. And suddenly the lights go off, there’s music and you see a distinctly retro fashion model strutting down the aisle. Surprised passengers of a Los Angeles bound Virgin Atlantic Flight were treated to exactly this as Banana Republic previewed its Mad Men Collection mid-air. Most would love the little distraction; except probably for the few annoyed ones glaring at the models for holding up the lunch trolley.
There is something disconcerting about an Angry Birds themed flight. Pissed-off birds flying into buildings? Which genius thought of this anyway? We’ll tell you…Rovio, the Finland-based developers of the game, sponsored this ‘longest, highest Angry Birds flight’ to Singapore. Adorned with Angry Birds decals along the fuselage and engines, the Finnair flight carried eight hard-core fans, who competed in the Angry Birds Asian Challenge at an altitude of about 33,000 feet. Passengers were shockingly good- humoured about it.