In order to keep up with the increasingly device driven consumer, airlines all over the world are rolling out new products and services to cater to their passengers carrying smartphones, notebooks, tablets and e-readers in a variety of new and interesting ways. As more and more people rely on their devices for entertainment and information, airlines are beginning to offer more and more in-flight entertainment (IFE) and in-flight content (IFC) through passengers’ own devices, rather than standard seatback screens. From more in-flight entertainment options to skipping the hassles of shipping luggage by using Bags VIP luggage delivery, airlines and Bags Inc. are striving to make travel easier for air passengers.
Seats on many airlines are now equipped with USB power ports, and many planes are introducing onboard Wi-Fi and/or wireless inflight entertainment portals. These wireless networks allow passengers to connect to content on an onboard server with their own laptops, smart phones or tablet PCs. This relatively simple adjustment makes a huge impact on traditional IFE features, making services such as online shopping and reservations, destination information, real-time travel information and seat-to-seat chat available to passengers throughout the flight on their own personal devices. Following early roll-outs by American Airlines, Delta and Brazilian airline LCC Gol, half a dozen other airlines are currently testing (or have announced) a wireless IFE service.
In addition to in flight improvements, many airlines are also expanding their IFE and IFC experiences to the pre-flight passenger. Airlines are investing in providing passengers with downloadable digital content before their flight, such as newspapers, magazines and flight details. Many companies are looking to future IFE solutions in the form of dedicated inflight entertainment apps, the first of which have already been launched by wireless IFE solutions such as BoardConnect (Lufthansa Systems on Virgin Australia, Lufthansa, Condor and El Al), eXW (Panasonic on Air Canada Rouge) and AVA (Thales on LAN).
Even with all these improvements and offerings for those carrying a personal device, the seat-back screen format for delivering In-flight content has not gone without its own upgrades. Many new systems allow for customized food and drink ordering, and you can use the touch screen device to drag and drop your preferred meal choices onto a digital tray, then sit back and your customized meal will be served to you on board. “Geotainment” apps via the touchscreen will allow you to follow your flight path throughout the trip and choose from interactive 3D views, a “heads up display”, or use a free roam mode to view and interact with the passing landscapes. These and many other changes will soon be standard on many airlines.