We had dwelled on three ways industry can benefit from the iPad here before though we sure missed out on this one, that of the iPad finding application as a means of in-flight entertainment. Though still at a nebulous stage, this is something that is definitely being given a chance by Australian budget airline Jetstar, a subsidiary of the Qantas Airlines. This would make Jetstar to be the first airline in the world to have an in-flight entertainment system that involves the Apple iPad.
As per reports, Jetstar plans to dole out the iPads on a select few domestic routes across Australia and will feature on flights that involve an hour or more of flying. Its a paid program though as passengers will be required to shell out AUD10 to use the iPads, which translates to $8.40 to fiddle with the Apple wonder gadget high in the clouds. Also, passengers won’t be allowed to browse the Internet which is in line with airline’s policy of barring the use of mobile phones or computers while air borne. However, the iPads are likely to come with movies and television programs, along with the option of various games, e-books, and music to keep the passengers enthralled. David May, the general manager of Jetstar further added that there would be 30 units of the iPad on each flight and would be on trial during the last two weeks of this month.In any case, passengers are already bringing along their iPads on board aircrafts, so this could as well prove to be a means of generating some revenue.
Jetstar has revealed they will be using a combination of “Australian in-flight entertainment service provider Stellar Inflight and UK-based Bluebox Avionics to develop custom software for the iPad”. It is interesting to note that London-based Bluebox had first demonstrated its iPad software just last month at the Hamburg Aircraft Interiors show.
It would be exciting to see how the conventional in-flight entertainment systems that includes a screen installed in the seat facing a passenger and which requires to be operated by an armrest remote would fare against the iPad which would be required to be held up at a convenient viewing angle to make the best of it. Whether the iPad proves to be the beginning of the end of the usual in-flight entertainment systems remains to be seen.
The iPad is currently the hottest gadget in the world and it stands a good chance of being picked up by passengers in droves. The airline has already purchased a few hundred iPads from Apple for the trial.
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