In-flight entertainment: Bring your own

THE idea that some airlines are paring down in-flight entertainment systems in favour of allowing travellers to use their own devices will raise few eyebrows. These days a tablet seems to be a compulsory part of a journey (possibly two: one loaded with cartoons for the kids and something more adult for the grown ups). For business travellers they provide the luxury of being able to switch between work and pleasure: last-minute presentation on the way out and films on the return leg. Many budget airlines already have a conspicuous tablet-shaped hole to slot devices into, even though few provided in-flight entertainment in the first place.There is a cost-saving element too. According to the Wiglaf Journal, airlines can save up to $90,000 per-plane per-year in fuel costs alone by jettisoning in-flight systems. The cost of the systems themselves can tot up to $3m. And travellers seem unconcerned at the loss of service according to a survey in which 87% of respondents supported a bring-your-own-device policy. This may be skewed towards short-haul travel though. Anyone who has witnessed the sea of screens from the toilet queue at the back of a long-haul flight will be aware of how many people make use of current systems.Airlines may be missing a trick too. In a low-margin industry cost-cutting is helpful, but demanding consumers expect savings to be passed on. …

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