In Flight Entertainment is one of the few distractions in the air that I love (apart from looking out of the window of a plane… that in itself is in flight entertainment).
IFE is pretty common across carriers – however, in the USA there has been signs of carriers charging for IFE on planes (exContinental LiveTV, JetBlue, Frontier and others come to mind).
Delta is seems are taking a different way, and will instead offer free IFE options on all US domestic and two-class regional jet flights from 1st August.
All Delta passengers – regardless of class of service will have options to access free IFE in-flight with a new product called “Delta Studio”, to be delivered via:
- Traditional Seat Back Entertainment Systems
- On Demand Entertainment streamed to devices such as Tablets, Mobile phones and Laptops
So lets look at the splits of what entertainment you’ll get free:
- International travellers will continue to get their free in-flight entertainment
- US Domestic travellers in BusinessElite, First Class and Economy Comfort will have access to all content.
- US Domestic travellers in Economy will have access to most content, with premium content for sale
Available on US Domestic services, all passengers will have access to 18 channels of live satellite TV on select aircraft, and up to 250 movies, hundreds of TV shows, songs, games.
Delta will be upgrading their fleet to further offer IFE to passengers without laptops or tablets. Currently 140 Domestic aircraft have seatback IFE systems. this is to be extended to the existing 56 Boeing 757-200, 43 Boeing 737-800s and 57 Airbus A319 aircraft in a refit programme that will continue to 2016. All new deliveries of aircraft will have IFE fitted as standard.
This is one hell of an interesting move as some airlines abandon IFE systems to just wireless only systems. Clearly Delta wants to keep customers entertained and back for more – giving away something that passengers would end up paying for on other carriers. By giving it to passengers on a seatback screen as well as via WiFi also allows personalise (as well as tracking I would suspect to see your actions) of what content is popular, and what isn’t (as well as not being judged for your choice of IFE!).
Of course, the beauty of a seatback system or even a wireless system is the ability to beam adverts to a fixed audience. Which is useful when selling this on.
It’ll be interesting to see if they further monetise this down the line, or if it will be free forever
Still for those who travel, and realise their battery is near flat – and wish to be entertained, this is going to be a boon to be entertained in the sky. Because even the sky does turn to black at night… and then there’s nothing to see out of the window…