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Soaring entertainment and in inflight connectivity…What happened in 2019?

Soaring entertainment and in inflight connectivity…What happened in 2019? - By Ahmed Haouaria

06 Jan 2020

Classic in-flight entertainment systems are now competing with solutions for travelers' portable tools. which opens the way to more and more ... in-flight entertainment possibilities. The widespread use of portable tools - smartphones, tablets, laptops - will have, and already has, a definite impact on the in-flight entertainment product offered by airlines. The  phenomenon called BYOD - "Bring Your Own Device" - is added to the installation of WiFi on board aircraft. In-flight connectivity, which is developing at high speed, opens the way to a new entertainment offer, directly dedicated to tablets and smartphones. Thus, in mid-2016, Jet Airways was among the first to offer a streaming program called JetScreen, offering 220 hours of audio and video content in order to appeal to passengers “who prefer to have access to content on mobile devices”.Wishing to meditate or watching the clouds float by when comfortably seated, or keeping connected with your company or clients by following-up on your inbox emails ? Flying can be a mix of fun, rest and work. Airlines provide customer with choice. Many Airlines travelers expect to have at least the possibility to stay connected when on the sky.  Wi-Fi is then a must.

Today many airlines around the world offer free Wi-Fi to all passengers, even in economy class. JetBlue, Air New Zealand, Norwegian, Qatar Airways, Emirates, China Eastern, Philippines Airlines, Qantas, Hainan, Nok Air, and Aer Lingus are among theses. More airlines provide free connections to international business and first class passengers.

Let’s have a look at what happened in term of Inflight Entertainment in airlines in 2019


Emirates Airline

According to Skytrax 2019 Global In-flight Entertainment List, is dominated by Emirates Airlines ahead of Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines. It recognizes airlines that offer the best choice and quality of in-flight entertainment. From the choice and topicality of films, television programs, music and games to the availability and functionality of on-board Wi-Fi, this award "recognizes airlines that offer a fantastic experience to their passengers" . 

Emirates is known for it's custom in-flight entertainment system, called ICE. ICE stands for Information, Communication, Entertainment allows passengers to keep up with the news, send emails, and browse over 1,900 channels of movies, games, and television throughout every flight. The airlines offers 20 MB of free Wi-Fi on all flights

Qatar Airways

All Qatar Airways planes have individual screens for watching movies, series, reports or listening to music.Since the planes are modern, the screens are very often of good size and touch.

Within Qatar Airways Inflight entertainment (IFE) and onboard Wi-Fi are major customer care success factor. Qatar Airways is enhancing its onboard experience across all cabins with all fleet connected on broadband Wi-Fi.

Qatar Airways is known for their wonderful business class products with the highly-regarded QSuites. Every passenger onboard, including those in Economy benefits from15 minutes of free Wi-Fi or 10 MB of data. Qatar’s Wi-Fi service is provided by OnAir.

Norwegian Air Shuttle

On flights within Europe Norwegian Air Shuttle offers free WiFi. The customer just needs to have his/Her own device within reach and systematically connect. Access is available to Video On Demand service with a huge choice of movies and TV programs. The company offers live TV news on board via tablets, smartphones and laptops. Even if Norwegian Airlines is a low-cost carrier, it surprisingly offers free Wi-Fi on their shorter intra-European flights. On transatlantic flights, however, the company does not offer Wi-Fi. 


On domestic flights operated by Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 equipped with free Wi-Fi, passengers mainly used their email and web browsing, then social media networks (Facebook was the most popular application) and streaming entertainment services. Qantas uses an internal statistics system to analyze trends in entertainment system usage and tailor 2,500 hours of content with its entertainment partners.

  • The most watched film on board in 2018 was Mission Impossible: Fallout
  • The most popular Australian film was Breath
  • The Modern Family series remains the most popular year after year
  • The most watched animated film was The Incredibles

2Qantas will continue to expand Wi-Fi reach in the coming years with international flights expected to have Wi-Fi by 2021.

Hainan Airlines

Hainan Airlines cabin is very comfortable and spacious. Economy class passengers are offered a personal LED tactile entertainment system with a variety of movies, audio, and games. The business class cabin provides lie-flat, adjustable seats and the touch screen and remote control based inflight entertainment. 

The airline’s entertainment system offers 120 movies, including Hollywood blockbusters, British and American TV show documentaries, music albums, and games. Another aspect of Hainan’s IFE is the multicultural diversity employment with five operational languages.

Air New Zealand

Back to 2014, the introduction of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner into the fleet was the stimulus for a significant marked cabin interior change. The new aircraft was introduced with new technologies, including a new Panasonic Inflight Entertainment System. Air New Zealand managed to convert this from a one-size-fits-all interactive system for delivering entertainment content into a fully personalized digital engagement channel. In doing so, the company team delivered a number of world-first innovations including:

  • Welcome screen personalization, one of the most visible in the industry
  • Duty free , Buy on board using Airpoints Dollars, which is Air New Zealand's loyalty program as a payment mode
  • Customers’ favourites/playlists over frequent flights Memorizing
  • Memorizing of customer settings preferences which could be used for future flight seat assignment


These interactions open up additional sales opportunities for companies. What if, for example, while watching a James Bond on the screen, the traveler was offered to order his preferred drink or meal on his smartphone? The Nordic Sky system launched by Finnair with the arrival of the Airbus A 350 fleet includes a WiFi portal offering a selection of more than 400 emblematic products of Nordic design such as Makia and Ivana Helsinki clothing and Minna Parikka shoes.

Thanks to in-flight connectivity, it is above all the organization of travel that could be improved. Designer of Flight Path maps integrated into IFEs, Beria Interactive is thinking, for example, of enriching its offer with real-time traffic conditions, allowing the business traveler to accurately estimate the arrival time at the meeting point and book a taxi accordingly.



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