In-Flight Entertainment systems – Which one is easiest to use?

To the occasion of my move from the Mobile devices sector into the aerospace industry as of next month, I decided to revisit In-flight entertainment systems (IFE) one more time (even if my new job will not be related to IFEs).

There seem to be vast differences among airlines and plane models as to the quality of IFE systems offered. In particular, while some are quite responsive, intuitive and easy to use, others are slow, buggy, or confusing. I’ve compiled a few examples of IFE systems below but I’d like to hear from you, which IFE system of which airline you feel is the easiest to use?

Please leave a comment below (if possible, link to a photo or video so everyone can see why it is your favorite).

For those systems that stand out, I will then try to contact the respective airlines to find out more about the authors and the design ideas behind their IFEs.

Air Canada (2009)

Air New Zealand (2010)

(Scheduled for November 2010)

Delta Airlines (2009)

Etihad Airways (2008)

Qantas Airways (2008)

Scandinavian Airlines (2007)

Singapore Airlines (2007)

Virgin America (2007)

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4 thoughts on “In-Flight Entertainment systems – Which one is easiest to use?

  1. I mostly and frequently fly SIA (Singapore Airlines) and I think their KrisWorld entertainment system is pretty good. Pleasant design, easy (and fairly reactive) navigation, and very comprehensive content (the best selection of recent movies, TV shows, documentaries, and music I’ve seen in any airline so far). Also, the remote is fixed under the screen in the seat in front of you so that you don’t accidentally press a button while watching a movie (as in systems where the remote latch is in the armrest of your seat).

    Lufthansa has a new system, too, that relies on a touch screen, but it’s slow and the navigation paths are confusing. Also, I don’t see an advantage in having a touch screen for a device that is used by hundreds of different people each year (I hate removing fingerprints and dirt after boarding, and scratches on the screen are also much more common).

    I’ve flown a lot of Delta last year due to projects in America, and just as the overall service and quality of US airlines is horrible, the inboard entertainment sucks in comparison to what you get in Asia or the Middle East. Miniature screen and poor selection of content don’t cause much excitement. Only the networked quiz games that allow you to play against other passengers are entertaining, at least for a while.

    Matt

  2. Thanks for the comment IIW and Matt.
    I haven’t flown with Singapore Airlines yet but even in the video above their IFE system looks better than what other airlines had two years later. Together with the upcoming system for Air New Zealand which I find very promising, it really does suggest that the easiest to use IFE systems are found on the “Asian side” of the globe. Perhaps this is a result of cultural differences in access to media and its consumption? It would be interesting to know.

  3. I would say it’s mostly due to the general quality of airlines in Asia. On-board service, food, seat space, and overall experience is just several leagues above European and especially American airlines. SIA had on-demand inflight entertainment already in the early 90s, when you had to be lucky to have a common TV screen on Lufthansa. Even in economy class on SIA, you nowadays get a widescreen LCD that dwarfs the tiny screens on other airlines. Once you step up to business class with its huge, full-flat beds, gigantic screens, personalized service, and gourmet food (among others, first class wines selected by renowned sommeliers), you can only laugh about the small, reclining chairs on a Lufthansa or United transatlantic flight. 🙂 Since I used to travel a lot for business, I’ve always been very happy to be based in Singapore, even though I usually went on economy class.

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