23 July, 2024

Virgin Atlantic Introduces Dementia-Friendly Inflight Entertainment

Virgin Atlantic collaborates with the Women Over 50 Film Festival (WOFFF) to bring dementia-friendly films to its inflight entertainment offerings.

Virgin Atlantic and the Women Over 50 Film Festival (WOFFF) have partnered to enhance the travel experience for passengers with dementia and their carers.

Starting this month, passengers can enjoy a selection of short films from WOFFF as part of Virgin Atlantic’s inflight entertainment system, Vera.

These films, curated with the assistance of Carers UK, are designed to provide a calming and enjoyable experience for those living with dementia.

Nuala O’Sullivan, founder of WOFFF, expressed her enthusiasm, saying, “We’re absolutely delighted to collaborate with Virgin Atlantic to improve the inflight experience for those living with dementia.

“There are 944,000 people living with dementia in the UK and 55 million worldwide. It’s important that they aren’t excluded from participating in everyday life, pursuing hobbies or experiencing travel.

“By expanding their inflight entertainment to include specific films for people living with dementia, Virgin Atlantic is making the magic of cinema accessible to so many more people.”

WOFFF, which celebrates the work of older women in film through its annual festival, also screens films in UK care homes and has worked with Carers UK to develop this programme for Virgin Atlantic.

Michael Shann of Carers UK said, “This is a fantastic initiative towards creating more inclusive environments for people living with dementia and their families. We worked with the team at WOFFF to review several of their short films and selected the ones we believe are most appropriate for those living with dementia. We also felt these films could be enjoyed by anyone, so they’re perfect for family members or carers to watch too.”

The chosen films are characterised by their gentle, engaging nature, using music and movement to tell their stories, with minimal dialogue.

From a serene dance film by Scottish Ballet to an animation featuring soft, muted colours, the films were selected for their soothing and captivating qualities.

Previously showcased at the Women Over 50 Film Festival, these films will be available on Vera from June to December 2024.

Vera’s dementia-friendly short film selection:

  • Entitled, director Adeyemi Michael
  • Eulogy for the Dandelion, director Gloria Civantos
  • Haud Close Tae Me, director Eve McConnachie
  • The Honeys and Bears, director Veena Rao
  • Lay Me Low, director Marlene Millar
  • Old Mother Blackbird, director Sophie Bancroft
  • Swim, director Maike Mahira Koller
  • Walks With Me, director Kati Kallio

Sophie Bancroft, whose film Old Mother Blackbird is included, said, “I am thrilled that my short film Old Mother Blackbird is part of this dementia-responsive programme.

“Inspired by an extraordinarily brave and loyal mother blackbird that set up nest in my garden in a wee village south of Edinburgh, Scotland, I’m thrilled to see her universal story of maternal love and family taking flight across the world.”

This dementia-friendly programme is thought to be the first of its kind on any inflight entertainment system worldwide. The initiative coincides with Virgin Atlantic’s 40th anniversary, highlighting its commitment to inclusivity.

Sharon Noyau, Manager – Inflight Entertainment Content at Virgin Atlantic, commented, “We’re committed to enhancing the travel experience for all customers, and so being able to expand our entertainment options with these thoughtful and inclusive films is something we’re very proud of. We hope our dementia-friendly short film selection will bring joy and comfort to our customers living with dementia and their families as they travel with us.”

News Team