The Future is Coming for In-Flight Entertainment

The annual Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) just wrapped up in Long Beach, CA. So far the airlines won’t be employing the Jersey Boy’s or booking Carlos Santana to do in-flight performances just yet. This year’s event focused heavily on the greatest innovations in technology and how to utilize them in-flight. The event features a large hall packed with exhibitors showing off their versions of how in-flight entertainment can move forward from tech savvy additions like USB ports at your seat to a yoga fitness video for those health conscious travelers. If they can dream it up, it will be at APEX.


The history of in-flight entertainment goes back as far as 1921 and started regularly appearing on TWA flights in 1961 for first class passengers. Today, there isn’t much of shortage for in-flight entertainment. Many airplanes are now equipped with seat back monitors and Wi-Fi. In addition, many airlines are looking to improve on their visual amenities by offering HD and 3D options. There was even talk about featuring holographic options as well.


Aside from what an airline provides, most air travelers bring their own devices. This has also been a recognized challenge for airlines to improve on streaming and Wi-Fi services. In 2012 JetBlue plans to offer free Wi-Fi service on their entire fleet. In addition they plan to implement a super-fast Wi-Fi service option on 30 of their aircraft. Delta has also thrown their hat into the ring in regards to fast streaming options for passengers who bring aboard their own devices. They plan to create system that will allow passengers to stream programs directly to their Wi-Fi enabled devices. The cost to passengers will start at .99 for T.V shows and $3.99 for movies. If you don’t have time to finish watching your movie, Delta will give you the option to finish it or download another program within a 24 hour time frame where ever Wi-Fi is available.


Some of the other concepts featured at the expo are far less complex. Smart Tray International knows the demand for more in flight amenities that will cater to their own personal devices. They came up with a tray table that features a groove to prop up your device. Sometimes its the simplest things that satisfy consumer demand.