They say that using iPads for in-flight entertainment will be the next big thing.
But there’s no escaping the iPad’s clumsy viewing angles, glare from the ambient lighting and the marginal increase in screen size compared to the seatback TVs – at least in the premium cabins.
Before Apple fans start reaching for their pitchforks, consider the idea: you’re watching your favourite film on the plane like you would on an iPad, except this time on a screen that you’d normally expect to find in your living room.
Regular economy class travellers will probably roll their eyes at the news that this is now possible with one airline in first class.
Asiana Airlines has kitted out its new first class ‘OZ’ cabins with 32-inch high definition screens in every seat – giving it bragging rights as the airline with the world’s largest personal in-flight TV screen on a commercial flight.
The South Korea-based airline boasts that passengers can still see the screen when their seat is fully reclined, in a move aimed at widening the gap between Asiana and its competitors.
International carriers including Etihad, Malaysia Airlines, and Singapore Airlines currently project the in-flight entertainment from 23-inch flat screens in their first class cabins.
For now, Asiana’s ‘big screens’ are limited to its 777-200ER (extended range) operated flights between Seoul Incheon (Korea), Chicago (USA) and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam).
With airlines doing their utmost to reduce weight on their fleet for fuel efficiency reasons, it is a different ball game when it comes to catering for their most prized paying passengers.
But keeping hold of first class passengers in today’s tougher economic climate is proving challenging for airlines – some more than others.
In Europe, Lufthansa recently announced plans to cut first class on a large chunk of its long-haul network as part of a cost-cutting exercise.