Philippine Airlines Introducing Wireless In-Flight Entertainment

Philippine Airlines is the launch customer of OnAir Play, a Wireless-In Flight Entertainment product, that will make the airline the first carrier in Asia Pacific to provide passengers with completely integrated in-flight entertainment and connectivity. 

philippine airlines onair play
Image Source: Tab Times
The new service will eventually be made available in flight on all of the airline's international routes. The OnAir technology enables passengers to enjoy multimedia in-flight entertainment through a wireless internet network available on the aircraft. Philippine Airlines is already offering passengers the wireless internet service by OnAir on select Boeing 777 aircraft. 

Through the enhanced system, passengers will be able to download or stream on-demand content of their choice to their personal electronic device including smart phones, tablets, and laptop computers just as they would at home. Because the wireless in-flight entertainment will be integrated with the plane's live internet connectivity, time-sensitive information including live news and sports will be regularly updated during the flight. 

Passengers travelling on Philippine Airlines will be able to choose from a wide selection of films that cater to a variety of passengers. Magazines will also be available to read through the e-reader feature that will provide passengers with instant access to popular publications such as Bon Appetit, National Geographic, Vanity Fair, and Conde Nast Traveller. The airline also plans to integrate its duty free catalogue into the system so that passengers may view a digital version. 

“We are expanding our long-haul network rapidly, with plans to open routes to Australia, the US and beyond,” said Ramon Ang, President of Philippine Airlines. “We are expanding our fleet and we want to offer the latest cabin entertainment options available. There is no doubt that merging entertainment with connectivity provides a fun way of spending time during the flight. Our passengers can now access the content they want, when they want it, on the device of their choice.”

Philippine Airlines plans to retrofit its entire A330 fleet, which already feature Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir to offer passengers a completely integrated in-flight entertainment and connectivity experience. However, it remains unclear if passengers will be required to pay additional fees to use this service in-flight. 

PAL is not installing traditional in-flight entertainment on any of its newly ordered aircraft from Airbus and has instead opted to carry iPads that are being made available to passengers. In order to enjoy the wireless in-flight entertainment, passengers will require their own tablet, smart phone, personal computer, or rent an iPad during the flight.

9 comments:

  1. Hmm so this is the rationale why they didn't install AVOD in some of the new planes. I think this is a good idea though a bit hassle if you're eating.

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    1. Current AVOD system design using hard disks, thick LCDs and its wiring adds unecessary weight to aircraft that eats into profitability. It cost 2-5m USD per installation per aircraft plus media content royalties. Wireless wifi system using tablets costs less to install, maintain and operate. With wireless system, they can simply install a local video streaming server and multiple wifi access points to feed audio/video contents to these tablets less the static weight of wired AVODs.

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    2. Penny pinchers at PAL just want to make more money out of their passengers who have to rent a ipad when normal IFE is free

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  2. Only budget carriers are doing this. Air Canada has individual entertainment systemsin their planes but Air Canada Rouge, which is the budget arm of Air Canada does not. Instead, Rouge stream entertainment through peoples' devices.

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    1. Actually, SilkAir, a full-service carrier and subsidiary of SIA, is also experimenting with wireless IFE, and apparently their trials with it were successful, so now they will stick to it. Still, SilkAir is mostly a regional carrier, while PAL also does long-haul, so it's not exactly a fair comparison, but it shows that not only budget carriers are experimenting with it. Personally, I still prefer traditional IFEs but PAL can't afford them yet.

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  3. PAL Can afford them, they just don't want them.

    Im sick of reading that they "can't afford" inflight entertainment when they first of all have SMC financing their operations and have $10 Billion worth of planes coming in. They just choose not to have them on the A321 and A330 so they can save on weight/fuel and jam more people onto their aircraft. They are just crunching the numbers.

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  4. Exactly. They can afford it, plain and simple. I just hope this savings goes to better marketing, uniforms, customer service, and meals.

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  5. So, I have to hold up a screen when I want to watch a movie, right? That does not sound comfortable. What about if I want to eat while I watch? They should add brackets to the back of the seats to hold the screens.

    They can still have the wi-fi -- no wires etc -- but embed the screens into the seats like the "old" video system. Then for maintenance they can just pop the screens out.

    This just gives them another revenue stream -- the rental.

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  6. hopefully they put holders for ipads at the back of seats

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