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

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Apr 12, 2001
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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.

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."

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

levitynyc

macrumors 65816
Aug 19, 2006
1,094
3,153
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.
 

r2shyyou

macrumors 68000
Oct 3, 2010
1,758
4
Paris, France
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...
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,042
111
Canada, eh?
Install iPad minis into the seatbacks. Problem solved.

I flew Cathay Pacific on a long-haul flight from Toronto to Hong Kong last year, and the seatback entertainment system was much improved over what it was the last time I went, which was in the late 90's. Even still, it was a bit laggy and glitched out now and then. We've come a long, long way in user interface development over the years. One thing I did like was the ability to call up the nose-camera so you could see what the pilots were seeing.

But don't even get me started on Air Canada's system. Beyond atrocious!
 

inlinevolvo

macrumors 6502
Jul 11, 2012
359
3
I can't wait for the airlines to adjust ticket prices by weight. Let the hilarity ensue!

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:eek:

Looks like the Long Arm of the Law US Healthcare industry has made its way to the Air Travel industry...
Nice jab! High five! The only problem is that Emirates Arilines does not operate under US law.
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,560
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Cork, Ireland.
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.
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,042
111
Canada, eh?
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.
How do they keep people from taking them home with them?
Perhaps they are tethered for recharging and audio output.

As for app deletion, installation, etc., I assume that they could have some custom software that prevents you from exiting the in-flight entertainment app, and if the on-board wifi is solely to stream provided content, and not offer general internet access, then app installation isn't possible either.
 

SmileyBlast!

macrumors 6502a
Mar 1, 2011
654
43
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!
 

Donald.

macrumors newbie
Mar 19, 2010
17
0
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.:)
Don't hand them out. Place them where the current system is - attached to the seat and constantly plugged in. This way you don't need chargers and they can't take it away.

I actually like this idea as it would provide for a much more responsive enterntaining system with higher display quality.
 

charlituna

macrumors G3
Jun 11, 2008
9,629
805
Los Angeles, CA
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."
I don't think it will be as gradual as she thinks. At least not in countries that have an iTunes store. If they can get the content it would be a cakewalk to make the switch right away. Likely starting with new planes and those they are remodeling for whatever reason. They wouldn't even have to buy enough ipads for all passengers. Many will have their own. They would just need a way to validate those folks into the network to use the content. I've seen such things at Starbucks so it can be done.

Airlines might even create apps that allow folks to page a flight attendant, order a drink, perhaps even add their name to a list for a bathroom. Imagine not having folks standing around etc to go pee cause they could add their name to a list and when a bathroom is available they get a 'your turn' notification on the screen and they take care of business. All sorts of things could be done.

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seems like they will also need genius bars on-board
not really. 50% of issues are software that can be fixed with a reboot. Another 30 or so with a restore. Keep like 10-12 extra units in standby to swap out for those units so the passenger can keep doing whatever.

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I'd rather have an iPad any day. This is a no brainier for all airlines.
They could go with the more kid friendly sized iPad Mini and save even more space for storage of the units when not in use. And money
 

charlituna

macrumors G3
Jun 11, 2008
9,629
805
Los Angeles, CA
Install iPad minis into the seatbacks. Problem solved.
why install an ipad mini into a position where it can't be comfortably used. to really work it needs to be held in hand.

Really not that hard for a system to be created where the attendants can mark which seats have borrowed an iPad and when it comes time to prep for landing they check them back in and put them away. put them in some kind of rolling rack with an ipad mounted on the top to tap in and out.
 

charlituna

macrumors G3
Jun 11, 2008
9,629
805
Los Angeles, CA
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?
1. restricted profiles could be created to prevent use of camera etc.

2. this would be in flight wifi connecting to an onboard server (think home sharing type stuff) not necessarily connected to the real world

3. check out system to show who has iPads etc.

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How do they keep people from taking them home with them?
hard to take one home if they refuse to open the cabin doors because one of their ipads is missing. And i'll bet they have something in the terms of use that might allow such tactics. Not to mention they would have find my iPad or something similar in play so they could force a missing unit to make a sound and tell them who tried to steal it.

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Don't hand them out. Place them where the current system is - attached to the seat and constantly plugged in. This way you don't need chargers and they can't take it away.

I actually like this idea as it would provide for a much more responsive enterntaining system with higher display quality.
so you advocate assuming people are thieves as well as disregarding the usefulness of the ipad as anything more than a TV screen. if the airlines were thinking like that then they'd likely stick with the built in displays.

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All these years we were told to keep wi-fi switched off or the aircraft falls from the sky. :rolleyes:
That's only during take off and landing and the attendants won't likely be handing out these ipads until the plane is at flight level. And taking them back before landing as they will have other duties to attend to during those two periods.

so not really an issue
 

Tankmaze

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2012
1,621
243
spends an average of $15,000 per seat on embedded screens.
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.