Virgin Atlantic


Creating the airline's first virtual reality experience to give customers a taste of their Upper Class service

In collaboration with Microsoft

Virgin Atlantic teamed up with Microsoft to build a unique immersive solution designed to give customers a taster of the Upper Class service without leaving the ground.

Radio Design collaborated with Microsoft and Virgin Atlantic to create the VR experience. Designed for smartphones and viewed through a headset, Ida incorporates CGI and 360 degree video, and is enhanced with narration, spatial audio, and biometric tracking.

Take a look behind the scenes at how we all brought Ida to life.

Virtual Guide

For Virgin Atlantic’s virtual guided tour, we wanted to create a calm and relaxing environment which would capture the essence of the Upper Class service and leave customers with a positive emotional response.

So to support the narration we developed a ‘virtual guide’. In the form of a graceful glowing aura, the guide chaperones customers though the scenes, helps to alleviate disorientation and choreographs their attention in the 360 experience.

Seamless Journey

Ida takes you from check-in to touchdown on a virtual Upper Class journey lasting 6 minutes. Beginning with a gin and tonic at the airport lounge, followed by a relaxing massage at the spa, you float up through the clouds to the onboard bar, stretch out on a full-length bed in the cabin, and finish with a healthy breakfast before landing refreshed and ready to go.

We created CGI transitions to segue seamlessly between the scenes and avoid any abrupt cuts in the footage. This technique helped to maintain a sense of presence and immersion in the headset.

Our approach was to deconstruct the geometry of the shot, reorient the point of view, then reconstruct the new scene. It was a unique solution, and the use of glowing colourscapes breaking down into light and negative space worked to enhance feelings of tranquility and relaxation. Throughout the transitions, our virtual guide flows between key sources of light, navigating your gaze to the next position.

Biometric Tracking

Microsoft’s Ida software solution features a heart rate tracker via a wearable Microsoft Band. The app displays a ‘tuned in’ result indicating how engaged the customer felt throughout the experience.

Customers’ heart rates would usually slow down slightly during the massage scene at the spa, then spike as the music swells and they start to slowly lift off the ground and float up through the clouds.

The experience also touches on the multisensory. Aromatherapy oils were administered by app assistants at key moments to stimulate customers’ sense of smell – lime with the gin & tonic, geranium at the spa, and orange with your juice at breakfast.

Future Decoded

Virgin Atlantic’s CEO Craig Kreeger launched Ida at Microsoft’s Future Decoded conference in November 2015.

A Microsoft creative collaboration with Radio Design, TimeSlice Films and SoundNode.