More space while sitting, personalized entertainment concepts and always online: Flying in the future should above all be a continuation of lifestyle on the ground. What sounds like wishful thinking, could be reality in a few years. But so that the flight can really be a continuation of lifestyle on the ground, a good working environment and entertainment functionalities (Wireless In-Flight-Entertainment (IFE)) on board have to be available with no limitations.
Wi-Fi in Airplanes: still a Challenge?
Passengers normally face this sentence: “Get seats to an upright position, fasten your seat belts, switch off your smartphone”. The use of mobile devices is forbidden for every passenger as the wireless radiocommunication will violate the IT in the airplane – so the statement of the aviation operating companies. Since years there has been no development and especially business users wonder why every café offers wireless Internet access, but in-plane there is silence. The reasons which are communicated are often: too complicated, too expensive, legally questionable and not without danger. But this is now changing, albeit slowly.
The cost of adapting Wi-Fi-technologies for airplanes have fallen to almost half, so that more and more airlines are upgrading their aircraft with antennas for satellite connection. The focus of the global expansion is of course on business customers. The growing opportunities for business travelers make it possible to spend a lot of time on the plane and still work efficiently.
Airplanes begin to implement Wi-Fi-Technologies
After Lufthansa, also the second largest German airline Air Berlin now offers Wi-Fi hotspots in their machines. According to a press conference – along with her major shareholder Etihad Airways – the company will equip all flyers with Wi-Fi by the year 2017.
Although a surfing lesson currently still costs around 11 euros, the trend is unstoppable. After an analysis of the US consulting firm In-Stat, by the end of 2011, 1.835 planes were equipped with a wireless Internet access for passengers worldwide. In 2015 already 6,100 aircrafts should include this technology.
How could the Future in Airplanes look like?
Passengers could login with their own smartphones, tablets and laptops and then access a wide board program. For these mobile devices airplanes can offer a free app before the trip and activate the program from an altitude of 10,000 feet. Those who have no tablet or smartphone can loan a device from the airline.
Furthermore other options could be added in many airplanes like network games, Internet access and communication of the passengers under themselves. Together, they could chat and play games in the network.
The incorporation of such technology is also possible in the context of routine aircraft maintenance. Additional services such as information on connecting flights, menu selection and drink orders to the crew or orders from the onboard shop would be easy to install. These options offer opportunities for important additional income in the face of ongoing price war with ticket sales.
What do you think – are Wi-Fi and other entertainment functions necessary during the flight? Would you use them by yourself? Do you see dangers or benefits?