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Qantas Hands Out iPads With Access to Streamed In-Flight Entertainment

Australian airline Qantas is handing out iPads with access to its Wi-Fi-streamed in-flight entertainment service Q Streaming, reports AFP (via AppleInsider).

The iPad-based service was first tested on a single 767 in 2011, offering streaming access to over 200 hours of movies, TV shows and music, and is now being introduced on its 767 flights operating between Sydney and Honolulu. Later updates will introduce interactive games, digital newspapers, magazines as well as travel and business apps.
Our inflight entertainment programs are stored on a content server with over 18 times the storage capacity of a 64GB tablet.

These programs are streamed wirelessly to Wi-Fi enabled devices via six wireless access points installed along the aircraft’s ceiling.

No other aircraft in Australia is fitted with this technology. You can now choose from a library of TV and audio content never before available to the Australian domestic traveller.

The Q Streaming iPad available in your seat pocket will automatically connect to the wireless network when you turn it on.
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While the move might sound expensive, the reality is that tablet-based entertainment may save money. A report last year in USA Today observed that traditional seat-back entertainment systems can cost $3 million or more per plane, with the figure rising dramatically for the recently-introduced A380 double-decker.
Emirates Airline, for example, spends an average of $15,000 per seat on embedded screens. For an Airbus A380 with 517 seats, the total cost to install seat-back monitors would be approximately $7.8 million. And that doesn't include the content.

"It is the most expensive thing after the engines," says Patrick Brannelly, vice president of product, publishing, digital and events for Emirates. "It is a ginormous investment by the airline. But it's one that's paid off, because the airline has done very well."

Seat-back entertainment systems are also heavy, increasing fuel usage. Rob Fyfe, CEO of Air New Zealand, says that every pound of weight on board an airliner costs the airline $200 a year in fuel. Tablets are significantly lighter.
Seatback entertainment costs have further increased as screen sizes have grown larger in premium cabins, with the typical 12-inch screens in Economy growing to 20-inch in Business and 27-inch in First. Airlines have increasingly been introducing tablets into the entertainment mix, with British Airways, El Al and American Airlines all using them. Most have so far limited their tablet offerings to premium cabins, however, while Qantas will be handing out iPads in Economy also.

Mary Kirby, editor-in-chief of the Airline Passenger Experience Association magazine, says she expects any move away from setback systems to be a gradual one. The idea of buying aircraft without them is, she says, "almost like buying a car without a radio."

Related roundup: iPad Air

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 15 months ago

seems like they will also need genius bars on-board


They've already thought of that (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/07/28/apple-introduces-three-new-mac-ads-during-olympics-opening-ceremonies/)! :D

Rating: 4 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
Collecting the iPads at the end of the flight might not be so easy. :cool:

Someone could pretend they don't speak English and walk off the plane with it.:)

I pay flight! I keep this now. Me late. Got Go!
Rating: 3 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago

Emirates Airline, for example, spends an average of $15,000 per seat on embedded screens. For an Airbus A380 with 517 seats, the total cost to install seat-back monitors would be approximately $7.8 million. And that doesn't include the content.


:eek:

Looks like the Long Arm of the Law US Healthcare industry has made its way to the Air Travel industry...
Rating: 3 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
Interesting idea. There would be some challenges - can they 'lock down' the iPads so people don't install a lot of junk on them, or fill them with lots of photos/videos, or delete apps? Will device theft be a problem?

Even ergonomics might be an issue, a screen on the seat in front of you is a lot more comfortable than a screen on your lap, although presumably they'll provide some way of attaching to the seat in front.
Rating: 2 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
Let me second that...

$15,000 per seat on embedded screens

:eek:
Rating: 2 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
Makes sense. It's like rear seat entertainment options in my car.

I can pay 3 grand or so for the headrest system or just buy a couple of iPads for the kids.

You also have the added benefit of Internet use, portability, and the ability to resell them later.
Rating: 2 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
I'd rather have an iPad any day. This is a no brainier for all airlines.
Rating: 2 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago

Whattt?? 15 hundred grand, what is the screen made out of ? Unicorn tears?
Deploying iPad seems a no brainer solution. Good for airline and customers.


For the entire seat I think it must be, but the screens must add a lot to the cost, and also needing the expensive screen there must get in the way of easier upgrades to the seats in terms of comfort and style, you are stuck with the 15k screen seat because it's too expensive to replace.
Rating: 1 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
Just recently finished a contract on the UX for QANTAS and Emirates for UX/UI design for their in-flight systems, I'm calling it dead on arrival due to most users I validated this with bring either a laptop, tablet or both on the typical flights they intend using this service on.

Where the airline sees the benefit is reducing the capex cost compared to ICE, reducing maintenance costs (if an iPad breaks, swap it compared to replacing a seat) and enabling the airline to claw back the in-flight ad-rev market they have been loosing on since 08.

This is not well done QANTAS, rather why did this take so fricken long to see this is a far better option because they have been loosing revenue for in-flight entertainment systems?
Rating: 1 Positives
Posted: 15 months ago
I was on one of these planes from Brisbane to Sydney a couple of weeks ago :)

The iPads aren't tethered. They're in the seat pocket in front of you with the in-flight magazine.

They come in a strong plastic case that has warnings about an alarm if you attempt to leave the plane with it (I'm assuming RFID or similar). The case has a screen cover with magnets so it auto unlocks.

The seat back screen is replaced with a cloth loop for the iPad case screen cover so you can mount the iPad where a screen would normally go. Regular earphones are provided for the iPad along with optional headphones for the standard seat radio (can't use the iPad during take off or landing).

The iPad itself is locked to safari, home button doesn't work. I guess iOS has a kiosk mode? The in flight system is all run through a website using QuickTime streaming.

It's standard wifi, I could see the network names on my Air but they're all password protected.

All in all it works really well. However I don't think they'll be able to sell "please disable wifi on your laptop" anymore :)

Happy to answer any other questions.
Rating: 1 Positives

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