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I try out the BA 2119 virtual reality flying experience at the Saatchi Gallery

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On Tuesday, Rob and I went to the media opening of BA 2119: Flight of the Future, the exhibition that British Airways is putting on at the Saatchi Gallery on Kings Road as part of its BA100 birthday celebrations.

It is a relatively small exhibition of work from graduate students at the Royal College of Arts which proposes a variety of technologies that might shape air travel in one hundred years’ time.

Whilst it was great to talk to the students and discuss their proposals, don’t expect any of these concepts to appear on your next British Airways flight.  Many are as futuristic as flying cars were in the 1950s – highly conceptual and futuristic to the extent that they may literally never fly.

Trying out the BA2119 Virtual Reality experience

Let’s get to the fun stuff though.

At the centre of the exhibition is a virtual reality experience.  It takes you on a journey through the history of human flight, from Leonardo Da Vinci’s failed flying experiments to the windy beaches of Kitty Hawk in North Carolina, the first flights at what became Heathrow, Concorde and the new British Airways A350.

The experience puts you in the pilot’s chair – literally – on many of these aircraft, allowing you to soar (briefly) through various landscapes. It is enhanced by smell-o-vision, wind simulators and a moving platform in the style of a simulator.  The photo above shows me giving it a go.

This is how it looks from the outside:

Whilst the exhibition is free, the VR experience is £20.  You may find this too steep for what is an 11 minute experience (ignore the 8 mins figure on the ticketing page) and it’s a shame it doesn’t go on longer.  It is genuinely quite fun to ‘fly’ through the different landscapes.

You can book it online at the BA 2119 website here, picking a specific time slot.  The exhibition runs until the 26th August.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses.

There are special sign-up bonuses on both of the BA American Express cards until 28th February 2022. The bonus on the free card is doubled to 10,000 Avios and the bonus on the Premium Plus card is increased from 25,000 Avios to a huge 40,000 Avios.

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios (SPECIAL OFFER) and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

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Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 30,000 Avios.

30,000 Avios is a special offer which runs to 4th February 2022.

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You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 45,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

45,000 Avios is a special offer which runs to 28th February 2022.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (8)

  • Caroline says:

    I’ve booked a couple of these. Couldn’t get two Together so assume it’s because only one at a time?

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      Surely not a good use of an Amex 241 in any case?

    • Rhys says:

      Correct, one at a time

      • Frankie says:

        Is that you on the VR experience Rhys? Do you sit on that seat as well as stand for the eight minute experience? And does the stand swivel around and move you about? Do other people stare at you while you’re on it? Thanks in advance for answering these questions 🙂

        • Rhys says:

          It is me! You start off leaning into the support and then halfway through you sit down. Yes, the platform moves a little, it’s quite fun. People can’t really see you unless they go to the back where you get in – it’s hidden by the giant egg otherwise.

  • youngtraveller says:

    I wonder if the 20 pounds count as ba.com spend for the 1,000 bonus Avios with Amex

  • tony says:

    I visited this at the weekend, so 4 days after public opening. The exhibit was already looking quite tired with things not working properly, letters missing etc. It’s also very ‘out there’ in terms of future thinking. We’re not talking about a 2.0 lumbar support or a 30″ TV screen here, more eating 3d printed jelly and living in a small flexible pod for the entire flight.

    What ‘we'(?) might think of more important/realistic – a 4hr flight at 100k ft from London to Australia where you were decanted on a plinth directly from lounge to plane – got a little airtime, but perhaps I’m just not cultural enough to get the most out of this exhibition.

    My kids both enjoyed the VR experience, but I didn’t partake. Presumably the review above was on a press day as conversation about the concepts from the futurologists was non-existent, simply because none of them were there. If you do head down to the Kings Road, manage your expectations accordingly.

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