Should legacy airlines remove seat back IFE options?Back to Forum
I can see IFE being removed from parts of the aircraft eventually; but particularly in economy and for those airlines serving emerging economies I can’t see demand for IFE ceasing.
I’ve used an airline supplied iPad in flight, and was very impressed. The best part about a non-integrated IFE offering is that it can be updated regularly, with modest investment and so can keep up with advancements in technology.
Particularly as full in flight internet comes on stream, and iPad type device would be of particular value.
Perhaps we’ll see IFE/nonIFE seats as was the case with smoking areas?
Then those who wished to use the integrated system can pay for the service, leaving others to make their own arrangements.
However, I suspect the problem here is that it’s just as expensive to buy the content for a few people as it is for the many, and that there is little marginal saving in installing and IFE system on just a few seats rather than the whole cabin. So it will probably be an all or nothing decision.
I don’t think the market will bear that right now, but in a few years, who knows…!26 Jun 2012
In some cases you can connect an iPhone or iPod to the IFE and get the benefit of a bigger screen but in general I like the idea or removing the IFE screens from economy at least. Alternatively, why cannot ipads be built into the back of seats through special cases.26 Jun 2012
I’d be disappointed if airlines took the decision to remove IFE systems. It’s not just the tablet itself, but the content on it – I use flights to catch up on the latest films which i just wouldn’t have on my laptop.
Unless of course we’re talking about tablets being given out pre-loaded with content, rather than passengers bringing their own.26 Jun 2012
feijitong – people who fly econ usually do so because of the cost of the flight and therefore generally cant spend on an ipod, ipad, keep the ife for everyone and stay out of enconomy.
[EDITED BY BUSINESS TRAVELLER TO REMOVE INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE]26 Jun 2012
As I said in my post, one option is for the airline to change the casing on the seat to enclose an iPad instead of the existing IFE. Frankly though the weight adds cost which needs to be built into the cost of the ticket and if people were given a choice between a ticket that is US$25 cheaper and a legacy IFE, people who are cash strapped may prefer to save the money and not have the IFE. I guess the issue is how much does it actually save — the equipment does look heavy and has maintenance issues (i have had flights delayed because of IFEs not functioning). On balance, I think removing them is a good idea, not just because of cost but also because it simplifies maintenance.26 Jun 2012
I would have thought all premium carriers will offer an IFE option, it’s just how it’s done.
There must be some benefits in removing the existing equipment, big equipment boxes taking up legroom and many of the trip reviews you see on different sites talk about it having to be rebooted etc.
As the price of tablets comes down there will surely be airlines who take this route. In fact with the volume involved at a major airline they could command a good deal and probably something with an appropriate specification.26 Jun 2012
Maybe it’s my age but I don’t see seat back screens as a must on any flight. I’m old enough to remember flying to Australia and back when there were a couple of mainscreen projected films and other than that there was the inflight magazine and whatever books you might have brought. Oh and there weren’t iPods then either!
I don’t remember people being discontent, they were just pleased to be travelling. Now we get people complaining because their cheap package tour flight with Thomsons doesn’t have AVOD on a service to Palma.
How times have changed and not all for the better.29 Jun 2012
How right you are JohnHarper. In those days I’d watch the movie, read a book I’d bought at the airport, catch upon some magazines and sleep.
Today, I watch the moving map, read a book on my iPad as well as a few magazines on Zinio, and, err, sleep!
My kids however love the IFE as they can watch the movies Mrs. LP bans them from watching and she doesn’t know as she’s fast asleep!
PS. Becky, my sons iPad3 gets very hot when he uses it for more than an hour. My 2 does not so could be a fault in his. Trying to check the Apple forums now.29 Jun 2012
It will never happen on a major longhaul player…. Remove Seat back TVs is one thing to save weight, everyone bringing in tablets is another as the savings in weight will then be marginal. Also, lets talk about MONEY..They show adverts on their current IFE and they will want to retain this revenue which would not be possible if you bring in your own equipment. Why not do away with the expense of producing inflight mags and have everything loaded elecronically and leave it as it is. All you need to do is get rid of those old heavy chumky Tvs like what BA have and get nice lightweight slim ones fitted. Simple.29 Jun 2012
Joining this one a bit late but does it imply the safety demo will always be done by hand if there are no IFEs? If you hand out iPads you have even less chance of making people watch the safety demo. And if passengers use there own, “even less chance” becomes “no chance” as it will not even be loaded on the iPads.30 Jun 2012
No objections to IFE, BUT, I do object to seat back IFE systems where some passegers jab at the touch screens to change programmes, or when playing games, causing continual disturbance to the pax sat in the seat.
Less of a problem in C, but in Y it can be a nightmare, especially when the person in front is trying to sleep and the person behind is enthusiastically jabbing the screen, engrossed in their game.
Monitors slung below the overhead bins easily satisfy pre-flight safety demo and moving map displays, cause less disturbance and I guess they weigh/cost a lot less than seat back systems5 Jul 2012
With advances in technology, who knows what the situation will be like in five or six years time ?
What seems certain is that more passengers will be bringing along their own entertainment now that devices are becoming lighter and cheaper:
There are rumours – see above – that Apple will take on its rivals with a budget iPad Mini. This device will appeal to cash-strapped consumers, especially in the developing world. And we all know that the bulk of air passenger growth in the coming decades will involve mainland China.5 Jul 2012