Airlines leaving passengers to their own devices

Panasonic Avionics' Jon Norris; SpiceJet's Kamal Hingorani; Inmarsat's Otto Gergye; and Jet Airways' Narendra Mansukhani

Airlines in Asia are increasingly letting passengers take in-flight entertainment into their own hands, as they turn their attention to building in-flight connectivity instead.

At the Aviation Festival Asia, Kamal Hingorani, senior vice president & head inflight services and customer experience of Indian LCC SpiceJet, shared that while installing seat-back screens is inexpensive, the maintenance of the equipment and possibility of glitches would cost the LCC much more.

Panasonic Avionics’ Jon Norris; SpiceJet’s Kamal Hingorani; Inmarsat’s Otto Gergye; and Jet Airways’ Narendra Mansukhani

Instead, the airline will focus on the BYOD (bring your own device) model and instead offer “quality Wi-Fi connection” as well as customised passenger greetings, said Hingorani.

He cited a London School of Economics study, which predicted that more short- and medium-haul flights will adopt BYOD.

Still, SpiceJet may consider alternatives for its future longhaul wide-body aircraft, such as in-seat power.

Jet Airways’ head of guest experience Narendra Mansukhani concurred, and added that the airline has special features on its Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft for BYOD passengers. These include smartphone and tablet holders, and in-seat power may be introduced for longer flights, such as between Delhi and Singapore.

Both airlines asserted that they will aim to offer in-flight connectivity services free of charge.

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