Flying has become a necessity for many people today. Every day, more than eight million take to the skies for business and vacation travel. In 2013, the number of people who flew reached an all time high; more than 3.1 billion people took at least one flight. As airlines try to make the most of this, they are looking for ways to get more people on each plane. To balance the need fit more people on board with the desire to keep fuel costs down, the result has been less leg room for travelers. Airlines who want to keep customers happy are looking to get passengers’ minds of the loss in space by upgrading their in flight entertainment systems.
These in flight entertainment systems have come a long way since the Wright Brothers took their first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Some airlines, such as Emirates, boast the popularity of their systems. Their own public relations department claims they have been rated the best for their in flight entertainment system for 10 years in a row. An eDreams survey in 2014 backs up that claim as they received a 4.48 out of five. Pleasing passengers with more inflight entertainment system options may be a smart way to go.
In Flight Entertainment Systems Trends
- Offer more content to watch. In flight entertainment companies know people love movies. Watching movies on flights is not new but giving passengers a variety of things to watch and listen to has changed a lot over the last few years. Gone are the days when an airline can offer one movie per flight. Now airlines have installed screens for each seat and they give passengers a wide variety of content from network and cable television shows to Netflix and a wide array of music and gaming options. These things matter as more than 41% of flyers watch movies during their flights.
- Offer wifi. In a 2013 TripAdvisor survey, 25% of the people they polled said they would pick an airline that offered free wifi over one that does not. Moreover that same survey showed that 37% think that flying would be next to unbearable without a device such as smartphone or tablet. This is up 32 percentage points from a poll taken just a year earlier. In a world that never seems to want to unplug, being without wifi can feel like a terminal illness for many people. In flight entertainment systems manufacturers understand this and are delivering.
- Travel planning can be done from the plane. Many airlines now offer services to give flyers travel information that can be tailored to the destination of the flight. Many have offered map information with detailed data on the plane’s location, travel speed and time to arrival but now that has all been augmented with improved information about the travel destination. When combined with the ability to communicate with people on the ground allows passengers to make some of their arrangements from the plane.
Some people still prefer to take the time on a flight to unwind a bit. At least of 17% of travelers spend their flight time asleep and another 17% like to read. For most of travelers, the ability to stay connected to work and social media makes the time spent on a flight seem less like a waste of time. New IFE systems make this all too possible. This may also keep people occupied enough to not get upset when flights are delayed by weather problems or technical difficulties.
As new technologies change what we do online even more, the options available for in flight entertainment systems will expand further. It looks like airlines will soon allow people to use their personal devices longer during flights. Perhaps this is just an effort to placate angry customers or maybe it is because the technology in smart phones, tablets and laptops is not as dangerous as previously thought.
Airlines who want to keep their customers happy even in the face of smaller spaces and increased fees should look to new advancements in these in flight entertainment systems as a way to make the whole experience of flying, even in coach, more enjoyable.