Years ago, it was common to bring a book, newspaper, or crossword puzzle along for your flight. After all, you needed something to keep your mind occupied as you traveled from one destination to another. Slowly, however, it became more commonplace to see TV’s and seatback screens on many airlines – with a selection of television channels on the small screen on the seatback in front of your or one pre-selected in-flight movie shown on one or several sporadic TV screens throughout the cabin. And then came a huge step – first class and business class were provided an opportunity to access the internet while in-flight through BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).
Fast forward to today and you will see that it is extremely common to access a plane’s wi-fi from any seat on the plane. This defining moment has changed the in-flight entertainment game and has become known as “BYOD” or the Bring Your Own Device era.
Get the Wi-Fi going
Currently, almost all commercial airliners offer in-flight connectivity, as this is a necessity for passengers to BYOD. Unfortunately, it does not function as well as it does while on the ground. Why? Because a plane is constantly moving in the air. In addition, it is flying tens of thousands of feet in the sky – high above all the cell towers it uses for its connection.
While a slow internet connection is better than none while stuck on a long flight, passengers won’t likely have to worry about this issue for long. With the transition into the BYOD era, there are many in the industry working to find ways to offer top-notch streaming while 30,000 feet in the air!
R.I.P. seatback screens
It is time for seatback screens to go the way of the wind on commercial flights. And, in fact, the seat-back entertainment television display is slowly being removed from airlines. The reason being is that so many people now bring their own devices on flights that they are becoming unnecessary. This BYOD trend is making it blatantly known to airliners that travelers no longer desire seat-back TV’s.
Those who choose to travel via private jets have the option to bring their own devices, too. However, it is very common for these private planes to have large LCD TV’s or projection screens. This makes seat-back screens completely unnecessary.
Cost reduction for airlines
The entertainment game is slowly changing for airlines with passengers who BYOD – and this inflight entertainment leads to big cost savings and reductions for airlines. First, consider that fuel cost is a required expense they face with each flight they take. And, the amount of fuel necessary for each trip is based upon the average weight of the airplane (in addition to many other factors, of course). Therefore, by allowing passengers to bring their own devices for entertainment, there will be a significant decrease in the need for the seat-back screens or any other entertainment.
The removal of this extra baggage provides the airlines with a great reduction in weight. This makes airplanes much more fuel efficient. This reduction in weight comes from removing hundreds of heavy seat-back televisions, and adding only one lightweight portable in flight entertainment system to the aircraft. You then bring your own device (BYOD) and connect to the one system for endless entertainment opportunities.
Purchasing content and licensing for the viewing pleasure of their guests will no longer be a concern, as well. Although it may seem like an insignificant cost, spending the money to gain the rights to show the movie and television content to their audience is a chunk of an expense for airlines. With so few people taking advantage of it in present times, removing the viewing device can also cut this cost, too.
Perks of Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality systems are exploding on the market these days. And, airline passengers do not make any qualms about bringing them with them while traveling. Virtual Reality can provide passengers with a fantastic way to pass the time in flight – by either watching a movie, playing a game, enjoying an adventure, or transporting yourself to anywhere but seat 26D that you have been assigned.
For those with the ever-present fear of flying thanks to claustrophobia, VR can provide the passenger with a widescreen of an open space. This makes flying more comfortable and tricks the claustrophobia to keep it at bay. VR is rapidly advancing regarding its usage during air travel.
Before it was common to bring your own device (BYOD), many airlines would charge to view movies. Or, airlines would at least for the headphones to hear them. Unfortunately for them, not everyone wants to spend money on entertainment after spending money for an airline ticket! Therefore, the offering may not phase many passengers.
By allowing passengers to bring – and use – their own device, they can better pacify everyone on the plane. Passengers do not have to pay additional funds. Everyone who has a device (which is the majority) have entertainment for the duration of the flight. It is a win-win for both passenger and airliner.
The bring your own device (BYOD) scenario is not going to be all-encompassing. While many, many passengers will board the flight bearing tablets, cellphones, laptops, etc. there will be a few others who will be left in the dark, so-to-speak.
Because airlines are always looking for a way to make money, many may consider renting tablets. Passengers would be given the opportunity to rent a tablet for the flight – for a fee. This would allow all guests to have the same entertainment opportunity, whether they had their own device or not. In addition, purchasing several tablets to rent to passengers – including a charging station – will be much lighter in weight than the old seat-back screen systems.
Whether it is for work, for pleasure, or for occupying little ones during your travels, in-flight connectivity on your own device can make the difference between an enjoyable flight and an unbearable one. Private jets are already on the bandwagon and provide a greater personal setting for the use of these devices. In addition, with few passengers trying to clog the line, the connectivity tends to move quite a bit faster. It is only a matter of time until this becomes the norm on all commercial airlines, too.