Virgin America is the cream of the crop when it comes to high-tech in-flight entertainment, says tech columnist Molly Wood.
Watch the video and say whether the statements below are true or false.
1 You can order food and drink from your seat on Virgin America planes.
2 Only Virgin America international flights enjoy these in-flight entertainment amenities.
3 The new Jet Blue internet service, fly-fi, is already available.
4 You pay $8 per flight for internet connection with Southwest.
5 Delta Studio is only available for free on backseat screens.
6 You can watch the traditional overhead TV with United and American.
7 High-speed satellite wi-fi will be usual on almost any flight in a few years’ time.
Let’s face it. The only thing that makes air travel bearable anymore is upgrades or hours and hours of in-flight entertainment. Airlines are starting to realise that in-flight technology makes all the difference, and the cream of the crop, Virgin America.
Virgin America does it all and all from the screen on the seat in front of you. There’s wi-fi on every plane, there’s free satellite TV, movies on-demand, music, video games and touch-screen ordering of food and drinks. You can even send someone else a drink at another seat. There are also power outlets and USB plugs on every seat and all these amenities are available on every flight.
The next best checked airline is Jet Blue. Like Virgin they have power outlets at the seat, live streaming TV and movies and other entertainment on demand, but they’ve also just announced a new faster internet service called fly-fi. It includes free basic web surfing and there’s some content that you can get for free too, like college classes from Corserian, cooking shows, box TV and even books. Jet Blue says the system is coming this spring, so you won’t probably see it on every plane just yet.
Now if you’ve ever been on a Southwest flight, you know those planes are a little bit more barebones, so they’re not going with the full seatback entertainment setup, they are more about letting you bring your own device. You can pay for a wi-fi for $8 a day and you can serve gate-to-gate on Southwest, which means you can actually use the web on the ground. But they also offer some free content without hooking up to their wi-fi, on your tablet or your phone you can watch free-dished TV, a couple of shows. You can also listen to some B-playlists.
As for the old school domestic carriers, Delta is probably the best. They’ve just announced a new programme called Delta Studio that gives people free access to movies, TV, music and games on either their own devices or seatback screens and Delta said anyone on a flight over 90 minutes will have one of those options. The content varies, though. If you’re in couch, expect to pay for the good TV and movie content.
After that, there’s a previous team dropoff in in-flight tech depending on what plane you get. United and American lead all kinds of a hotchpotch of seatback entertainment, personal device options and the dreaded overhead TVs. Domestically, they all use Gogo for in-flight wi-fi, which is more expensive than something like Jet Blue and usually a lot slower too.
But overall things are looking up for high-flyers. In a few years, high-speed satellite wi-fi will be the norm on almost any flight you take, so until then take advantage of one of the last places on earth where you’re not expected to be working, blogging, tweeting and emailing. Just disconnect.
1T 2F 3F 4F 5F 6T 7T