Icelandair Staged An Immersive Theater Production On A Long-Haul Flight

Photo: Courtesy of Icelandair.
Anyone who wants peace and quiet during a long-haul trip will want to think twice about booking a flight with Icelandair.
Yes, the carrier is often lauded for low prices, a very lenient stopover policy, and those sweet buddy guides, but on a recent flight, all passengers got to participate in an immersive theater performance that spanned multiple continents and time zones, whether they liked it or not.
According to NBC News, Icelandair staged an 11-hour-long show, Ahead in Time, on a flight from London to New York. On top of that, the experience also included the stopover in Reykjavik and started even before passengers took their seats. The show involved professional actors, the crew aboard the plane, the ground crew, and even the men and women at the check-in counter. For the amateurs, Icelandair offered up acting classes so that the show could be as professional as possible.
The airline teased the showcase with a Playbill-worthy synopsis:
"Passengers met and had an opportunity to interact with Maria, dressed in a stylish suit from the 1950s, who said she’d be flying the plane; Richie and Cynthia, hippies from the 1960s who met on the road and were hoping to get to Woodstock; Alex, an exuberant, if disorganized, backpacker from the 1990s in search of his passport; and numerous grandchildren and other far-flung relatives of Edda Johnson, a world traveler and former Icelandair flight attendant who had invited everyone to her birthday party but (spoiler alert) was too busy traveling the world to show up."
To the dismay of anyone looking to catch some ZZZs on the flight or ignore the entire thing, the show involved one-on-one encounters with passengers and even a singalong at the end. The AV Club adds that some actors had to play multiple roles and that the plot involved musical instruments and some Icelandair sponsored content, so anyone that actually wanted to follow along may have had some trouble with the overwrought story.
The performance was a reaction to a U.K. survey which reported that passengers found airline travel to be "boring." Icelandair CEO Birkir Hólm Guðnason may have overshot with this particular strategy, but he seems pretty exuberant about making travel more entertaining, even if it's not a specific request from travel-weary fliers.
"Our program aims to transform wasted time while traveling into time well-traveled," he told NBC News. "We're pleased to pioneer a new form of entertainment and value-added service for passengers."
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