Good things to know when preparing for your flight: Onboard Entertainment
Get on board with in-flight Entertainment
Airline passengers have a range of onboard entertainment to keep them busy during a flight. Whether flying to long-haul destinations or taking a flight somewhere closer to home, there are lots of onboard activities to stop passengers, young and old, getting bored as part of what is known as IFEC – In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity.
In-flight entertainment varies from movies and episodes of TV shows, talk radio and music channels, games and even a screen showing the flight’s path to its destination. There are rules about what devices passengers can use on board but as technology has advanced over recent years, those restrictions have become fewer and where once mobile phones were completely banned during a flight, some airlines now allow their use for both calls and texting.
Airlines pride themselves on providing travellers with a choice of onboard entertainment, and those with the best selection feature high on customer satisfaction surveys.
Read all about it
Most of the major airlines provide a complimentary onboard magazine for passengers to peruse at their leisure during their flight. The magazine is generally filled with travel articles and important information about both the airline and the destinations to which it flies. The magazine will also list all of the onboard entertainment available along with duty-free products available to buy on board.
Some newspapers also have a deal with certain airlines in which free copies of that day’s edition are handed to passengers.
Feature films remain the most popular in-flight entertainment with the most recent releases and classic movies being shown on monitors positioned throughout the cabin and, on bigger aircraft, on the personal TV screen in front of each passenger.
On long-haul flights, passengers will generally be able to choose their own in-flight entertainment from the available listings, watching films on demand. Earphones may be provided for free or for a small fee. Depending on whether the jack is compatible with the airline entertainment system, travellers may be able to use their own earphones.
Tune in, turn on
Radio channels are a popular choice for travellers who want either music or chat. The bigger airlines have their own radio channels specially recorded for their flights. The channels offer music, news and comedy. Some flights have a radio channel to their own radio communications so interested passengers can tune into the flight deck and hear the pilots talk.
Television programmes form a large part of the onboard entertainment on flights. Classic TV shows and up-to-date episodes of the most popular comedy, drama and entertainment programmes are available to watch, with airlines catering for international travellers and providing programming in several languages.
Dial E for entertainment
Many airlines have satellite telephones on board that allow passengers to call anywhere on the ground using their credit card. The systems used generally do not allow for incoming calls but some can send faxes and SMS (text) messages. On bigger aircraft, passengers can also use a handset to call fellow travellers seated elsewhere. The use of mobile phones is generally prohibited everywhere, though they can be used on certain airlines and routes.
In-flight connectivity is the latest development for passenger entertainment on a flight. In-cabin wi-fi and broadband is available from some of the bigger airlines, allowing passengers to browse the web during their flight.
Video gamers can enjoy game play during their flights with some game systems even allowing them to take on fellow passengers via the airline’s in-flight network. The games can be accessed through the passenger’s own console with a selection of entertainment and learning games on hand.
Text messaging and email are part of the in-flight connectivity revolution that is slowly changing the airline industry. The larger airlines are already providing Intranet systems that offer full access to the web, while certain onboard satellite phone systems can send and receive text messages.
Most electronic devices that emit electronic signals come with a safe in-flight mode that doesn’t interfere with the complex communications systems of modern aircraft and allows their use during a flight. Those devices that can be used completely while the aircraft doors are open include the likes of laptops, wireless headphones and earphones, mobile phones, gaming devices and PDAs such as iPads and Kindles, but all must be put into safe flight mode before take-off. Electronic devices that don’t emit a signal, such as TVs and radios, video cameras and DVD players, digital cameras and electronic organisers, can be used at any time.