Reuters: After fastening their seat belts and listening to the prerequisite safety demonstrations, 12 ‘passengers’ on First Airlines took off on Wednesday (February 14) from central Tokyo on a “virtual flight” to Paris, complete with a four-course dinner before immersing themselves in 360-degree virtual reality (VR) tours of the City of Light’s sights. “A real trip is a hassle to prepare for, and expensive, and it takes time. So I think it is good that we can enjoy all this hassle-free,” said Takashi Sakano, 39, who was on his first VR trip.
At 6,600 yen ($62), a fraction of the cost of an actual trip overseas, it’s easy to see why First Airline’s two-hour ‘flights’ to Paris, Rome, Hawaii and New York have been fully booked since the company opened in 2016.
“We have lots of elderly customers, who want to go overseas but are not able to easily, given their physical limitations”, manager of First Airlines, Hiroaki Abe said, explaining that the majority of First Airlines’ visitors are older Japanese from around the country.
Abe added that domestic flights around Japan will be added soon, with meals highlighting the region’s cuisine.