Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Life without AVOD

Everyone in the industry is talking about connectivity during flight, and how on board Wi-Fi will change the travel experience by providing social media and online content at 41000 feet. Some suggested passengers using their smart phones and tablets for on board entertainment while the airline provides content.

Airlines advertise AVOD (Audio/Video On Demand) as part of their marketing. AVOD is not a perk it is a necessity when one is travelling on ultra range flights of up to 17 flight hours. With airlines like Emirates and Etihad among many others providing around 400 movies, several TV shows, a hundreds of audio selections and games with the ability to play with other passengers.

So far so good. Travelling back to Dubai from London Heathrow with BA on board what must have been one of their oldest B777; the aircraft looked and felt like it. The cabin was almost in tatters. The worst part was the In Flight Entertainment System.

BA has one of the better AVOD Programs for IFE, but not on this one. Twenty odd video channels and no audio, not too bad for a seven hours flight if one can overlook and tolerate waiting times for the movies to start.

The problem is passenger expectations, you pay for a ticket expecting AVOD and end up with a late 80s IFE System, a great downer. This a problem facing legacy carriers with aging fleets, greatly differing on board experiences for the same flight and cost.

As technology brings in more and more channels and content to IFE the divide between one aircraft and the other becomes intolerable something that needs to be addressed by the airlines.

Maybe I should be asking for a refund, Just Saying.

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