Some people love watching plays, and other people hate them. But even the most dedicated of theatre lovers might have a tough time liking Icelandair’s newest addition to in-flight entertainment: 11-hour, immersive plays. Clearly, this is both a brilliant way to distract nervous passengers and to drive them crazy.
Earlier this month, a large mix of actors as well as actual airport staff tested out the production for the first time on an Icelandair flight from Heathrow to New York City. The participating staff — who volunteered to learn the production on their free time with the help of Gideon Reeling, a theatre company in London, England — performed a three-act play about the airline’s history. And there was a lot of singing.
“We’ve made theatre in unusual places but never made a show that started in one country, bounced to another, and ended up in a third on the same day,” stated Gideon Reeling’s founder.
According to passengers, the play started right at check-in. Curious travellers were then able to watch the flight crew break out into song at the gate, while boarding the flight, during the flight and even when disembarking the aircraft. You might not like the idea of an in-flight show, but these are certainly some dedicated employees.
— Harriet Baskas (@StuckatAirport) September 8, 2017
The show’s all part of promoting Icelandair’s new Stopover Pass, which they’re hoping will encourage travellers to stopover in Iceland while en route to other destinations. Additionally, anyone can enjoy free performances and other forms of entertainment at airports around Iceland from now until April 2018.
“Our program aims to transform wasted time while traveling into time well-travelled,” said Birkir Hólm Guðnason, Icelandair’s CEO. “We’re pleased to pioneer a new form of entertainment and value-added service for passengers.”
— Camilla Cornell (@CamillaCornell) September 8, 2017
“I thought it would be awful. It wasn’t. In fact, as the actors moved around the cabin, regaling passengers with their stories, I was genuinely entertained,” said Gavin Haines, a reporter from The Telegraph. “If passengers hoped to stick their headphones on and pretend they weren’t there, it wasn’t going to happen – there were sing-a-longs that everyone was encouraged to get involved with.”
So if you’re hoping to catch some shut-eye on a flight or beat off a bad case of jet lag, this probably isn’t the airline for you. But then again, seeing a live play at 30,000 feet in the air might just be worth adding to the bucket list.