June 20th, 2012
News — or all hell — broke out last week when Cathay Pacific’s CEO, John Slosar, dropped a bombshell.
From Business Traveller:
“John Slosar, CEO of the Hong Kong-based airline told HK Finance that “Given the popularity of tablet PCs, passengers no longer need some of the onboard entertainment facilities, like for example, the seat back personal TV screens [PTVs].””
The Hong Kong based airline goes on to describe how doing away with personal seat-back TVs can do away with between one and two tons of weight per aircraft, which can clock up substantial fuel savings over time.
But all this is still an “idea” for now:
“However, says Slosar stresses that “it remains an idea at the present time. The carrier would wait for another five or six years before tablet PCs became more popular with the travelling public at large before taking action.”
That is more of a safe bet. By 2017–2018, tablets will have become a far-more mature product, with a greater number of overall users. Plus, deployment of IFE-based systems utilising a passenger’s device (via Wi-Fi connectivity, for example) can bring numerous benefits to both parties.
And I’m pretty much in agreement with GhettoIFE’s take on this:
“Cathay Pacific’s idea is simple: Bring Your Own Device, and they’ll provide a power socket at seat so you can power it, be it a Laptop, Tablet or GhettoIFE Device.
The really clever move would be to introduce some sort of Wireless IFE device, so you use your own device, connect to a server on the plane, and stream content from it.”
Five years isn’t so close, yet not far. With constant advancements in the area of IFE (in-flight entertainment) and on-board communications, your guess is as good as mine come the kind of provisions made available to us on a flight.
I look forward, with great interest, to see how airlines choose to tackle this particular aspect of passenger experience. We won’t have to wait five years to see progress, because it’s already happening today in different segments of the commercial aviation marketplace (think AirAsia X, Emirates, Scoot, Virgin America — to name a few).