Icelandair launches onboard immersive theatre show
You board a plane, expecting another humdrum long haul flight, but this will be anything but humdrum. Larger than life fellow travelers suddenly appear, from sixties hippies to somber businessman. By the way, these actors are also the stewards. They're there to take you on a journey, both through the clouds, and through a play retelling Icelandair's aeronautical history.
Something strange is afoot on board...
To celebrate their 80th birthday, Icelandair have decided to do something a little different. No card, no cake, just theatre... 35,000 feet above ground. The play's opening flight took place on 8 September, and was split into two acts, one per leg of the journey - London to Keflavík, Keflavík to New York.
Some of the play's characters are amongst the passengers, and so you never really know who's a disguised actor and who isn't! The initiative was born from the conclusion that many passengers see flights as "wasted time", and that 78% of flyers say that those on the plane with them, including the cabin crew, can "make or break" a journey.
The question then arises of whether the show will be enjoyable if it is performed by amateurs? Those taking part in the performance have already practiced their part in some form as a hobby, as well as having received training from London based theater company Gideon Reeling. The main roles are reserved for professional actors from the company, thus guaranteeing a professional and engaging experience.
The Telegraph's Gavin Haines, who was on board during the first performance, had this to say: "The actors moved around the cabin, regaling passengers with their stories, I was genuinely entertained. I liked the theme of female empowerment, as championed by the carrier, which ran through it. Truthfully, I don't remember having more fun on a flight."
In order to take part in the play passengers can go on Icelandair's website and enter a draw, the lucky ones of which will receive a free flight as well as a part in the show. The theatre performance is part of a wider "Iceland stopover pass" that promotes Icelandic culture through music, comedy and sport experiences. In fact, the airline is pretty well known for their quirky initiatives like this one.
Take the "stopover buddy" scheme, for example, which matches passengers with Icelanders that take on the role of a helpful companion during a particularly long stopover. Passengers can make a request as to what they'd like to do in the country, and they're paired with the right buddy to help them out. Yet another initiative is the ?stopover pass', which gives passengers a free stopover in Iceland when across the Atlantic.