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Thomas Cook's mobile VR allows travellers to try before they fly

Thomas Cook is experimenting with virtual reality in its marketing mix, rolling out a "try before you fly" online campaign.  

The experience can be viewed online in a browser, although the brand advocates watching on mobile using the YouTube app and Google Cardboard. 

Consumers begin their journey in the cockpit of a Thomas Cook plane and can jump to separate videos filmed in economy and premium classes. 

Users are challenged to look around the plane to find clues to three of the airline's newest destinations. When they're done, they can head to dedicated microsite to enter their answers, which could win them a £3,000 holiday to Los Angeles. 

The interactive videos features real pilots and cabin crew, as well as surprising characters such as Kimye, Lady Gaga and a string quartet. 

Agencies Catch and Visualise collaborated to devise the VR experience. 

Tom Morey, senior marketing manager for Thomas Cook Airlines, said: “We’ve used recently developed 360-degree video technology to open the doors of our great new cabins on our Airbus A330 fleet.

“By summer this year, we’ll be operating seven of these long haul aircraft on direct flights from Manchester to Miami, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Orlando and Las Vegas. Customers don’t have to wait and see how it looks, they can find out right now by interacting with these amazing videos.”

Jonathan Smith, founding partner at Catch, added: “2016 is set to be virtual reality’s breakout year. This new technology is perfectly placed to highlight Thomas Cook Airlines’ new routes and high-end A330 aircraft. 

"We used three GoPro cameras assembled to capture an entire spherical perspective of the cabin scene, creating an innovative experience. We had a lot of fun with a 50+ strong crew of actors, airline staff and impersonators to bring the new destinations into the cabin, as well as providing clues which viewers can find to enter a competition to win a holiday to LA.”

The brand first experimented with virtual reality last year in its London concept store where customers could experience one of its resorts. 

Featured by The Drum