In-flight entertainment (IFE) can prove to be a very important factor when it comes to an enjoyable passenger experience. Most people think that it doesn’t matter whether the entertainment comes from the screen in the back of the seat or content streamed to passengers’ own devices. However, what most people seem to agree on is that some form of entertainment is essential. To the extent that in the near future, with the help of technological advances, in-flight entertainment could even be introduced on budget airlines that fly short-haul routes.
One of the biggest and most exciting technologies that is set to shake up the world of in-flight entertainment is Virtual Reality Entertainment. A lot of aircraft manufacturers and airlines are already investing in VR as a way to transform aviation and bring it into the 21st century. However, the main emphasis is being placed on providing a variety of different content. This includes films, podcasts, tv shows, setting up a personalized playlist using a friendly digital interface. Giving passengers this opportunity to review the choices available on their flight, helps to build positive anticipation of the flight experience.
Let us now look at how the future of technology could change in-flight entertainment.
As phones become larger and larger, tablets and laptops become cheaper, lighter, and more advanced with better screens, it looks like airlines might finally move away from seatback screens. It might even shift towards allowing passengers to find entertainment on their own devices thanks to improved wi-fi or streaming service.
It is important to remember that people want in the air what they want on the ground. If you look at the trend on the ground, many people at their homes are looking at screens for long periods of time, watching TV, playing video games, working online and so much more as they surround themselves by more, not fewer, screens. This trend is only set to continue in the air.
Gaming might just be the next big thing when it comes to in-flight entertainment. It is worth noting that Panasonic Avionics signed a contract with an entertainment company, known as IMG, to be the first broadcaster of live esports in the skies. For those of you who do not know, esports is watching professional gamers play a competitive video game.
It is amazing how popular esports has become in today’s world. In 2017, more than a hundred million people watched the League of Legends esports championship. That is 10 times more than the number of people who watched Wimbledon last year. With all the technology, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that there is a possibility that there could be intra-plane gaming tournaments in the future. Passengers could opt-in for a tournament if they want to take part and at the end of the flight, the winners can be crowned.
Some airlines and aircraft manufacturers are in conversation with a number of universities. There is a possibility of partnerships between universities and airlines in order to make e-courses available on flights. Keeping in mind the long 18 hour flights, where a passenger can finish most of a course, we see a lot of potential in in-flight diplomas.
There is also the possibility of other creative industries in the skies. For example, you could encourage writers to collaborate on a book or a group of musicians on a flight to create a song between them without having to leave their seats. The goal of in-flight entertainment is not only to keep the passengers busy but to make sure that they’re enjoying what they’re doing.
Light, smell, and sound manipulation
For a truly amazing passenger experience, it is important to look beyond entertainment. For instance, improving wellness on longer flights, focusing on sound, sight, and smell. Aeroplane companies are doing this already in subtle ways. For instance, on long-haul flights, the lighting is set up in the circadian rhythm. This means the lights dim when it’s night time at the destination you’re travelling to, and it’s, therefore, time to grab some shut-eye.
Unfortunately, sometimes what can keep the passengers awake during their flights is the noise of the aircraft and its passengers. Every passenger wants noise-cancelling headphones but without the headphones. In the future, we could have much better noise-cancelling speakers around a booth in order to deal with and cancel out the noises elsewhere in the aircraft.
Another thing aeroplanes can improve on is the smell. Panasonic is working on a technology called nanoe. This will work on a nano level and remove odors as it purifies the air through a process that is similar to ionizing water to reduce bacteria.
All of this will make air travel much more comfortable for the passengers. When it comes to feeling fresh after a flight, Etihad Airways is a step ahead as it’s launched a Jet Lag Advisor app that advises passengers throughout the flight as to how they can minimize the impact of moving through different time zones.
If you already get excited about in-flight entertainment and thinking about what new movies you can watch, then just imagine what it would be like with the introduction of these new technologies.