British Airways and Paramount+ turned Heathrow Terminal 5 into a starbase.
Just like entertainment on the ground, in-flight entertainment keeps changing. Thanks to the advent of personal smart devices, most airplanes no longer have video monitors that fold down from the overhead compartments. In-flight seatback screens have become a thing of the past. But instead of leaving travelers to figure out their entertainment choices completely on their own, airlines now team up with streaming services to expand their customers’ viewing options.
Here’s a case in point of interest to Star Trek fans. British Airways has entered a sponsorship arrangement with Paramount+, the “mountain of entertainment” that’s home to every episode of every Star Trek series, ever (and, once upon a time and perhaps some day again, the Star Trek movies, too).
“On long-haul flights,” British Airways announced, “customers will have access to a dedicated Paramount+ channel, showcasing some of the best series the platform has to offer.” Among those best series? The first seasons of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Star Trek: Prodigy.
But British Airways and Paramount+ didn’t simply announce their deal with some boring old press release. In a brilliant marketing move even Mr. Spock would admit was “flawlessly logical,” Paramount+ turned Terminal Five at London’s Heathrow Airport into a stop on a flight to the final frontier.
Check out these intergalactic passengers boldly going in the video below:
Terminal 5 travelers saw authentic Star Trek costumes and props in action
I’m not a big fan of spending time in airports. But speaking as a Star Trek fan, I would have loved to have been in Heathrow Terminal 5 on November 15, 2022!
As you can see, British Airways and Paramount+ went to great lengths to make this marketing stunt a memorable one. Five airline personnel donned authentic costumes from Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Star Trek: Discovery for the day. Another two dressed as Vulcans, complete with prosthetic pointed ears from the franchise’s makeup team. Plus, they got to handle such authentic props as a medical tricorder—and tribbles!
Calum Laming, British Airways’ Chief Customer Officer, told Simple Flying:
"We wanted to kick-off this announcement with Paramount+ in true blockbuster-style by bringing some of their exclusive content to life. … It was great to see so many Star Trek fans from across the business come together to help us celebrate this launch, with many colleagues excited to swap their wings for the Starfleet Insignia for a day."
The video shows how much everyday flyers enjoyed the Star Trek-themed terminal “takeover.” It also showcases several Easter eggs Star Trek fans should notice and appreciate.
For example, the departures board lists “Flight 1701” to the Enterprise at Starbase 1, as well as flights bound for ships named after such characters as Ambassadors Gav (“Journey to Babel,” TOS) and Shras (Star Trek: Enterprise), and destinations including Starbase 47 (various episodes, as well as the Star Trek Vanguard novels, which launched in 2005) and a no-doubt permanently delayed flight to Romulus.
Notice also the Starfleet lieutenant instructing her fellow passengers in how and how not to perform the famous Vulcan salute. One can’t help but think Celia Lovsky would have appreciated such instruction on the set of “Amok Time,” all those years ago.
Now, were I to push my glasses (hard to find any with the lenses still intact) up the bridge of my nose for a moment, I might point out that surely the transporter beam has made such a stressful and time-consuming method of transport as travel by airplane obsolete. Indeed, Star Trek Into Darkness gave us exceptionally long-range transporters. Star Trek Nemesis and Star Trek: Discovery have even shown us personal transporters!
But three cheers to British Airways and Paramount+ for staging such an imaginative event. It’s always great to see how recognizable Star Trek continues to be among the general public, and how it never fails to bring smiles—even when precious little about air travel these days does.