Africa Travel Week

Virgin brings back the sights and sounds of travel through ASMR

From the bing-bong of the call bell, the click shut of the seatbelt and the evocative pop of the champagne cork, Virgin Atlantic brings jetsetters the sights and sounds that they have been longing to hear.

The airline has captured tell-tale travel moments by creating videos making use of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), a phenomenon where a person gets a tingling sensation, often starting on the scalp and moving down the neck and spine. This physiological response can be triggered by sights and sounds including whispering, isolated sounds such as tapping, and imagery.

According to Dr Giulia Poerio, Psychology Lecturer at the University of Essex, scientific research supports claims that ASMR is something that can make people feel more relaxed.

“People with ASMR show significant reductions in their heart rates when watching ASMR videos, reductions comparable to other more well-established stress alleviating techniques such as mindfulness and music therapy,” says Dr Poerio.

She adds that ASMR videos allow people to experience the feeling ‘on demand’ and with greater longevity and intensity. This has meant that people use ASMR videos to tackle insomnia, to reduce stress and anxiety, and even to provide relief from loneliness.

Customers can watch three versions of Virgin’s ASMR-inspired videos including short individual triggers on TikTok and a 3-minute flight experience on the Virgin Atlantic Website at, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

A return to the real sights and sounds on Virgin flights is also making great progress.

Virgin Atlantic has taken a major step forward towards the introduction of digital health passes by partnering with IATA Travel Pass and TrustAssureTM to launch two separate, complementary trials to streamline customer journeys.

On 16 April, the airline commenced a one-month trial of the IATA Travel Pass on its London Heathrow-Barbados services. Customers travelling for permitted reasons on flights from London Heathrow to Barbados will be invited to participate in the trial by downloading the IATA Travel Pass on their smartphone. Using the app, they can create a digital ID comprising their profile photo and passport information and upload their COVID-19 credentials, selecting relevant flight information.

Customers travelling to Virgin Atlantic’s US destinations are also able to verify COVID-19 test results digitally, utilising TrustAssure’s artificial intelligence (A.I.)-based solution.  Each customer’s pre-departure test documentation can be securely uploaded via its mobile-optimised website, in advance of their flight, and validated using A.I., in less than two minutes.

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.