In an age that is dominated by computer wizardry and the common expectation of immediate contact and interaction with ones social group, however far distant they might be, it is only to be expected that airlines will lure passengers with the promise of better, snazzier gadgets to play with during long, boring flights.
Hot on the heels of Virgin Atlantic Airways announcing that it will allow in-flight mobile phone calls, and British Airways already allowing text messaging on flights, smaller airlines are also cashing in on their passengers’ addiction with all things electronic.
One prime example is the announcement by Scoot, the low-cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, that it will be providing its customers with in-flight entertainment via I-pads, pre-loaded with popular films, TV shows, music and games. Passengers in the carrier’s business class cabin, ScootBiz, will have the use of a complimentary I-pad, while other passengers will have to rent them for around GBP11.50 per flight. Scoot eventually intends to provide on-board wireless Internet access, where passengers will be able to stream content from an on-board library, to their own electronic devices. This would be charged for on a pay per flight basis for economy passengers, but be provided as a complimentary perk for business class travellers.
Scoot are far from alone in their desire to provide the latest in in-flight entertainment, they are only a part of the current stampede to find the latest gizmos to blow their customers’ minds. This is good news for the technology industries, who will be only too keen to provide the airlines with ever more clever equipment to pacify the travelling hoards, in an arms race that is set to run and run, but probably not such good news for the traveller who just wants to sit back and enjoy a peaceful flight.