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The dawn of a new era of in-flight entertainment

October 7, 2013 Aviation No Comments Email Email

Since the early days of commercial aviation, in-flight entertainment technology has come a long, long way.
In 1921, Aeromarine Airways screened the very first in-flight film to its passengers – a short movie called Howdy Chicago which promoted the Windy City as a destination. However, it was another four decades before in-flight entertainment became a staple of commercial aviation; regularly scheduled in-Falcon2000LXS - Image courtesy of Dassault Falconflight movies only began in 1961.

Back in those days, films were shown using old-fashioned projectors; movies were played without sound or colour, and air passengers had to peer over heads to see a flickering screen at the front of the cabin.

The year 1988 marked one of the key milestones in the history of commercial aviation when Airvision introduced the first in-seat audio/video on-demand systems using 2.7 inch LCD technology. The personal screen concept has become an industry standard for long-haul flights since 1991, when Virgin Atlantic became the first commercial airline to offer in-seat video in all cabin classes Much has changed with times and technology has transformed air travel experiences. Today’s technology-savvy passengers are able to entertain themselves with their own laptops, tablets and smartphones. Passengers are able to pre-load their IT gadgets with movies and music up to the point of boarding. So, what’s the future for in-flight entertainment?

In-flight connectivity is arguably the most important feature for the next generation of in-flight entertainment. In-flight entertainment has gone beyond movies and games; with the advancement of technology, passengers are waiting and expecting for technology to bridge communication mid-air.

Alex Berry, group sales and marketing director at Chapman Freeborn Airchartering, says:
“Connectivity is regarded as crucial for business travellers, but there is now a shift in the expectations of all passengers. It’s not just about picking up that all-important work email – people want round-the-clock access to social media, 24-hour news and entertainment.”
Although some airlines are already offering Wi-Fi, connections are all too often slow and unreliable, as well as expensive.

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