- JetBlue promoted its new route between New York and Ontario, California, with an augmented reality (AR) app that brought a virtual slice of the Big Apple to Southern California. The "OntARio to New York" app let visitors of the Victoria Gardens outdoor mall in Rancho Cucamonga, California, see digital images of New York landmarks through their smartphone, according to a company blog post.
- The airline and Ontario International Airport partnered on the app and offered 339 prizes to people at the event last week who interacted with the virtual landmarks that included the Statue of Liberty and a hot dog stand. Prizes included vouchers for airport concessions, round-trip flights from Ontario to New York and tickets to see the Brooklyn Nets, New York Jets and shows.
- JetBlue's new route consists of an evening flight leaving New York after 7 p.m. and arriving at Ontario after 10:30 p.m., followed by a red-eye trip back to New York arriving at about 8:30 a.m., per Airline Geeks. "OntARio to New York" was free to download from Apple's App Store or Google Play.
JetBlue is among the airlines using AR technology to immerse potential customers in experiences that aim to engage them in positive interactions and urge them to buy a plane ticket. The biggest incentive to download the "OntARio to New York" app last week was the chance to win prizes that included a trip to New York and tickets to sporting events or shows, while the AR experience consisted of lenses similar to ones seen on mobile apps like Snapchat. JetBlue follows Cathay Pacific, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, airlines that have showcased their planes' interiors with immersive experiences such as 360-degree videos to see what it's like to fly with them. Travel site Kayak last month added an AR-powered tool to measure luggage to see if it can fit in the overhead bin of a traveler's specific plane.
The immersive technology may help JetBlue appeal to a new generation of travelers, who are more likely than older generations to browse, book and organize a trip via a smartphone or tablet. Global spending on AR and virtual reality (VR) products and services is expected to nearly double to $27 billion this year, according to research from the International Data Corporation (IDC) cited by ZDNet. Spending on AR and VR is forecast to see a five-year compound annual growth rate of 72% between 2017 and 2022, the research predicts, highlighting that marketers have just scratched the surface of the potential for immersive reality tech.
JetBlue has had an active few months of promotional activity. As part of its "For Good Month" campaign, the airline will offer a free flight to a planeload of people to undertake a volunteer experience on Nov. 27, per USA Today. The airline won't reveal the actual location until the morning the contest winners leave from a New York airport. The "once-in-a-lifetime volunteer voyage" will include "three memorable and immersive days dedicated to helping causes JetBlue believes in," per JetBlue's website. Earlier this month, the airline hosted its tenth annual "Swing for Good" golf tournament, a fundraiser for several charities, according to an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.