Air Canada announced some time ago that they’d be installing in-seat audio/video on demand on all their aircraft (even the small 70 seaters), and it’s now coming to fruition.
The Toronto Sun has a “review” of the new system on its website. I put “review” in quotes because they don’t actually have much to say about it other than this gem of a quote:
“I don’t find that the navigation is very good at all when you get into watching the video programming,” says MacArthur, who tried out the system during a recent flight to New York.
Yeah, that’s helpful.
What we do find out is that the new system has “16 to 24 movies, various TV shows and 50 music CDs. Later this summer it will include up to 10 interactive games and an interactive moving map with flight-path information.” Sounds to me to be a little light on the number of movies when compared to other airlines, but really, how many do you need?
Oh, and this is cool. “A USB port next to the monitor will allow passengers to upload games, while each seat will be equipped with a power outlet, says McKenven.” Can’t say I’ve ever seen that before.
Unfortunately, it’s only on 27 planes right now, but it should be done sometime next year fleetwide. This will help it compete internationally with just about every non-North American airline and domestically with WestJet. That airline currently offers Live TV.
This will try to answer the age old question of whether or not people are willing to pay for this. I know that I personally am happy to shell out a few bucks for that kind of entertainment and even more than that if it’s a really long flight. On the long hauls, this is becoming standard issue. (Yes, United, that means your 747s with big projector screens need to be updated.) But on the short hauls, this is still a rarity. I do hope it becomes the new standard.