Fu­ture air travel un­likely to of­fer tele­vi­sion screens

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - DESTINATIONS - RON PRADINUK

FLY­ING be­tween Den­ver and Palm Springs last month I thought I might pass the time en­joy­ing an in-flight movie. The prob­lem was, there were no TV screens. This is just one of the ma­jor shifts tak­ing place in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try that will change the way we think about air­line travel, some of it for the bet­ter, some for the worse. As the de­mand for WiFi in the air in­creased, the ma­jor air­lines of the world be­gan re­search­ing the best ways to pro­vide this ser­vice, and per­haps add a few dol­lars to the bot­tom line. To gain ac­cess to view­ing on flights with­out TV screens, pas­sen­gers must in­stall a United Air­lines app on their iPads or smart­phones. Once done free TV is ac­ces­si­ble, with ex­tra charges only for re­cently re­leased movies. For full WiFi ser­vice there is a also charge. In­ter­na­tional air­lines are mov­ing quickly to adopt this ser­vice change. It is es­ti­mated the re­moval of TV screens in air­planes will elim­i­nate about 700 kilo­grams of weight from the air­craft, re­sult­ing in fuel sav­ings. Ad­di­tional costs as­so­ci­ated with in­stalling and ser­vic­ing the TVs is also elim­i­nated. Canada’s own Westjet Air­lines has moved to this al­ter­na­tive op­tion as it in­tro­duces its non-stop flights to Lon­don’s Gatwick Air­port this spring from six Cana­dian cities, in­clud­ing Win­nipeg. From an air­line per­spec­tive this seems a log­i­cal move. More than 80 per cent of pas­sen­gers carry some sort of smart­phone or tablet de­vice on board. For those who have not moved into the dig­i­tal age, Westjet and other air­lines plan to of­fer rental units.


Thanks to the in­creased use of iPads and smart­phones, air­lines are mak­ing the move away from fixed TV screens,

in­stead of­fer­ing apps that al­low pas­sen­gers to ac­cess movies and TV pro­grams on their per­sonal devices.

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