Friday, November 20, 2009

Improvements in In-Flight Entertainment

In-flight entertainment has seen some revolutionary advances in the past few years. According to Aircell, the firm that installs Wi-Fi in airplanes, nearly 1000 domestic carriers will provide their customers with Wi-Fi service in 2009. They project that by 2010, double that number of domestic carriers will provide Wi-Fi services. That leaves only about a fourth of domestic carriers who will not provide Wi-Fi services.Wi-Fi is not free. You pay to use Wi-Fi. Some airlines are planning to give users a lower price like Delta Air Lines which has over 300 planes switched to Aircell's Gogo Wi-Fi.

Ranjan Goswami, director of customer relations at Delta has stated that customers using smart phones or satellite phones can use Wi-Fi for a nominal charge regardless of the length of the flight. Currently, planes that have Wi-Fi installed provide Internet service for their customers which means that they can access their emails. Some airlines are thinking about switching all of their in-flight entertainment to Wi-Fi service because they are cheaper to install and weigh less than their conventional entertainment systems. Aircell costs 100,000 dollars to install in a plan and weighs only 300 pounds.

Jack W. Blumenstein, the owner of Aircell plans to install movies and other entertainment packages that can be arranged before flight by flyers that bring systems that require Wi-Fi connectivity. Southwest Airlines is testing a back of the seat entertainment system that most customers like better than screens in the middle of the airplane. Another airline that has installed Wi-Fi system is Virgin America. Their head executive, David Cush, says that 26 of their A320s and A319s have Wi-Fi systems installed.

The entertainment system using Wi-Fi connections is called seatback because the back of the seat in front of you is now offering more than telephone service but videos and live satellite television. JetBlue started offering live satellite television as a frontrunner in the new airline entertainment business. They are not planning to add seatback video. You might not have enough time on your trip to make use of all the seatback entertainment that will be available. There has never been a more entertaining time to fly.

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