An employee dressed as a flight attendant serves drinks to customers at First Airlines, that provides VR flight experiences, including 360-degree tours of cities and meals. Photo: First Airlines
business

Grounded Japanese try virtual overseas holidays

77 Comments
By Akira Tomoshige

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© Thomson Reuters 2020.

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77 Comments
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And people pay money for this?

47 ( +53 / -6 )

Oh my god. Do people really have this much trouble keeping themselves occupied?

39 ( +46 / -7 )

More money than sense?

34 ( +40 / -6 )

Not a mask in sight!!!

22 ( +29 / -7 )

The Japanese are one of the few people who actually ENJOY flying in a packed airliner, even in economy. There is an instant soup in my grocery store that brags that it's used on JAL flights. Yeah, airplane food!

Right after KIX was built, tour operators bused area residents there so they could just hang around the airport for a while and then go home. LOL.

22 ( +24 / -2 )

Business class cabin? Seriously?

That we see in the pictures is a premium economy at best. I know not everybody can afford first or business class - and honestly I fly economy 50% of the time - but telling them that is what business class looks like is kinda fraudulent.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

What a miserable looking way to spend your holiday.

I’m sure it will do great here.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

This is sad,

17 ( +19 / -2 )

I have no words...

16 ( +18 / -2 )

destinations including - as well as Italy's cities of culture - Paris, New York, Rome and Hawaii.

Of course, no one could consider Rome to be one of Italy's cities of culture.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

How lame. Very clever to get people to fork out cash for this rubbish though.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Readers, these people are having fun. There is no reason to post snide or negative remarks on this thread.

I've checked the site, and they charge around 6 to 7k yen per person in a two-hour farce, I mean flight.

I'd rather use that money for a course meal instead, but to each his own I guess?

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Attach a shared headset? I hope they clean them well, no thanks!

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Looks like the mile high club will be grounded for this one!

14 ( +14 / -0 )

money for nothing

13 ( +18 / -5 )

There is more danger of being infected with the coronavirus while on a plane than while in a foreign country. These people are not socially distanced. Do they have to self-quarantine for 2 weeks after their faux-holiday, or do they only allow Japanese travellers because their passports innoculate them?

13 ( +14 / -1 )

This cannot be real.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Oooo, to make it really realistic you could have a endless CD of a kid screaming, or some one kicking you in the back! hahaha! and do they supply one of the inflight sick bags as a souvenir?

13 ( +13 / -0 )

That story made my day... Almost spilled my coffee over laptop... Hahaha

13 ( +13 / -0 )

New here?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Do they experience virtual turbulence as well? and do they really get to eat one of those tiny meals, on a tiny cramped tray? and thats fun????

12 ( +13 / -1 )

since 1981:

look at the first pic!!!

11 ( +14 / -3 )

The flight attendants aren't wearing masks. No thanks!

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Grounded travelers sit in first or business class seats in a mock airline cabin 

This wouldn't work for me. As soon as I sank down into one of those luxurious seats I would know this is not a real trip. :l

8 ( +16 / -8 )

Airports and flying are the worst part of travel. The flight attendants are rarely even nice anymore, more like curt.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Actually, Japanese people are not ‘grounded!’ Those able to take a flight if they can get one out of Japan can do so.but of course have to quarantine on the way back

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why do people down vote comments that say things like 'to each their own'?

Partisanship, sadly.

Nothing to do with sensible or silly comments.

No matter what viewpoints are posted, certain posters will be voted down.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I don't get it. The airline flight is the second least enjoyable part of a trip, just below the misery of the airport. And people pay their hard earned for this?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is a VR experience fun ride with food and drinks served by cosplaying staff. Nothing more or less. To be considered a substitute for traveling is quite crazy.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

Probably not any safer than just traveling overseas. Looking at the pic, people are being packed into enclosed indoor space with no masks for long periods of time. Cluster timebomb.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This somehow reminds me of the movie "Total Recall".

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Not for me. After a long flight going through customs and another layover is a hell.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This could only happen in Japan for Heavens Sake. LOL.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Like drinking zero percent ''beer." No real fulfillment. No thanks.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

This looks like a lot of fun! I love sharing one narrow tube with strangers when we're not going anywhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That sounds like a lot of fun!

You can eat and drink virtual food, meet virtual people, swim in virtual seas...

What's not to like?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why do people down vote comments that say things like 'to each their own'? Part of being a grown up is accepting that some people enjoy things that maybe you don't and if they're not hurting anyone then you don't have the right to interfere with your negativity

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'd like to know how much this little bit of escapism costs? If it is not too expensive then I have see no problem with it. No different than going to see a movie.

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

Personally, I liked to escape with a good novel, but each to their own, I guess.

-4 ( +12 / -16 )

One step away from Total Rekall.

Get Ready For A Surprise!

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Someone is offering a service which people want and seem to enjoy. If the clients are happy what is the problem. There are no social problems caused by this business so why should we care or complain about this.

At least they are trying to be creative during Covid-19.

I would personally not choose this service but if others do I hope they enjoy.

-5 ( +13 / -18 )

I never thought sitting in an airplane was ever fun or exciting. What was exciting was actually going somewhere for vacation. These people are willing to pay for a simulation of sitting in an airplane that goes nowhere. Whatever floats your boat.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

Why so many thumbs down for pointing out that this is nothing like First Class conditions?

Buckle up and expect a turbulent time on topics like this that might be, how can I phrase it... corporate friendly...

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

No queues for the bathroom?

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

The fun part about flying is taking off and to some extent, landing. Because you know you can get the hell off the plane soon, taxiing sucks though.

I'd pay for the lift off simulation then maybe smash some nuts, a beer and a mini bottle of red. The rest they can keep.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

If it's virtual, why not go all the way to Mars, Dad?

While you're at it, maybe throw in some Martians I can kill!!

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Each to their own. At least there's no immigration

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

Hey, why not.

Even in normal times, this would be perfect for nervous Japanese would-be travellers: get to see the world without all the terrifying dangers of gaikoku.

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

How much does it cost? And do you sit on the “business class “ seats for 12 hours to / from Rome, or just for a few hours?

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Business class/ First class experience where everyone has to watch the same film at the same time?

Even in economy class, individual seatback entertainment consoles have been the norm for at least 15 years.

Whoever spun this as a luxury experience is a hell of a salesman.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Why so many thumbs down for pointing out that this is nothing like First Class conditions?

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

There is a classic old issue of the comic Katsushikaku Kamiyari Koenmae, where the scheming Ryotsu-san convinces a bunch of pensioners that he has arranged to fly them to Hawaii, but through some virtual trickeration, actually loads them on a bus and they end up in Enoshima, but think they are in Hawaii due to the large number of Japanese......reality imitates art.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Somebody spends their own money on something I don't agree with. Let's complain about it on the internet!

Seriously people, it doesn't get more "old man yells at cloud" than that. Let people enjoy things.

-8 ( +15 / -23 )

Of course, when it comes to physical escapism, I love to travel but that's kind of difficult to do currently.

With that in mind, sincerest apologies for showing a preference to books rather than flight simulations.

What was I thinking of?

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

I'd like to welcome aboard our guests joining us from First Airlines, today.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

I think it’s great. I do hope they have included at least a few annoying scenarios and obnoxious people so that we don’t stray too far from reality. Oh sorry, your flight was cancelled, or sorry you have to stay in the airport for 14 days, or a 500 lb martial artist in the next seat, and so on. Details are important on our virtual vacation.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Chotto Mad~!  - looks interesting.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

I don’t think this business will continue to expand after the corona virus pandemic finish. But, for some people who can’t go abroad for some reasons, demands for this businesses would be kept to some extent. In my case, I don't have interest for this kind of trips.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

This is pretty cool I guess in a weird kind of way, but this is Japan and I've come to not be shocked anymore but rather take things with an open mind. Glad folks are trying it out but still not as close to the real thing, however I do wonder do they charge for luggage?

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

This strikes me as a tasty business. Serve up Cocos/Royal Host level food on a plastic tray and charge five thousand yen per head as "First Class" or whatever folks want to believe.

I suppose if your holidays are as short as most Japanese, there's not much point going to Europe if the flights are not something you actually enjoy.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Flight simulation better be just same as pilot training simulator. More fun to all kinds of weather conditions and engine trouble situations and finally successful landing. More realistic and more fun!

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Another theme park for adults. I wonder if their fees match those of first and business classes.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

There is no reason to post snide or negative remarks on this thread.

Good call. I suppose I could bring a book aboard...

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Elvis is hereToday  07:33 am JST

since 1981:

look at the first pic!!!

i see two people not wearing a mask. And?

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

They should do this in Kagoshima or Miyazaki, set up a nice resort (of course safe and social distancing) and make it like the passengers are going on a all inclusive Island paradise, I'd join for sure.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Well! Why not? Never tried it, but could be fun once. Always amazes me What people come up with to make money. :)

-12 ( +9 / -21 )

KumagaijinToday  09:23 am JST

The flight attendants aren't wearing masks. No thanks!

Goodness me! It's just an old photo from their website. I'm sure they'll be wearing them in real life.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

nice idea..

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

For a bit more fun and a more realistic experience, at the museum next to Komatsu airport in Ishikawa pref. you can "pilot" ANA's old YS-11 simulator. The instructor when I was there was a retired JASDF F-15 pilot. Great guy for a chat with as an added bonus.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Jtsnose explanation,

Meant as a Japanese English pun,

"Chotto made" - Wait until . . . 

Mad = crazy, . . . foolish

Therefore, "Chotto Mad~" wait on things foolish or just waiting [and trying something different until things get better]

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

The flight attendants aren't wearing masks. No thanks!

Of course you have to have the mask police coming over to ruin the comment section in an article that doesn't have anything to do with masks.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

I think it is interesting and would be good change of pace to eat there instead of eating in a regular restaurant. However, by no means is it a substitute for real travel.

-13 ( +8 / -21 )

Elvis, look at the second pic. Also, first pic you can’t see the faces of the people.

that said, are you kidding me! I think I’ll start a new lesson at my school. ‘How To Have A Life’

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

One step away from Total Rekall.

That's a bit more invasive, haha

Get Ready For A Surprise!

Boom!

If it's virtual, why not go all the way to Mars, Dad?

How about go all the way to Orion where you can have an experience with an Orion slave girl. :D

-15 ( +2 / -17 )

Hmmm.

What a great idea, looks fun and hassle free. I can't wait to try a flight to one of these great destinations and enjoy all the perks of a real comfortable trip, without the actual flying.

Brilliant!

-15 ( +0 / -15 )

I would love to do this. I refuse to wear masks but love flying. Only a couple of times I’ve flown business class and it was great. Virtual reality flying means I can be naked in the cabin.

only thing I would dislike, is the pesky cabin safety lectures. I fly a lot and always use the emergency exit seat, so I can do the announcements better than cabin crew. If I can skip this, I’m in.

at the moment I watch YouTube first class videos. I recommend Emirates.

-19 ( +5 / -24 )

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