Qantas passengers are about to get a major upgrade. The Australian airline has announced plans to give all passengers on selected flights access to iPads with more than 200 hours of streaming movies and entertainment for free.
Passengers taking 767 planes on flights to Perth and many other east coast routes in Australia can expect to start finding iPads tucked away in seatback pockets beginning in the fourth quarter of this year. The airline says it plans to partner with Panasonic to provide streaming entertainment and on-demand content to flyers in economy and business classes.
While Qantas is hardly the first airline to offer tablet devices to passengers for entertainment purposes, it does get kudos for making its iPad devices free for passengers in all classes. Although Virgin Australia has announced plans to provide complimentary Galaxy tablets to passengers flying in business class, the airline is planning to institute a charge for economy passengers who wish to rent the devices. Meanwhile, Australia’s Jetstar Airways charges passengers $10 to $15 to rent iPads once they get on board.
FlyerTalk members are eager to experience the Qantas rollout firsthand later this year, but skeptical about whether Qantas has considered the logistics of such a wide-scale launch. “Expect the crew to spend half an hour giving these out, then they start the drinks service then food,” writes FlyerTalk member og. “Effectively it just delays everything while sorting the technology. And then they have to get them all back before approach … Sounds great, but I’d want to be convinced.”
FlyerTalk member Pinkmoose wonders how Qantas is going to handle issues of theft, and FlyerTalk member dddc questions how Qantas plans on making sure the batteries on its iPads never run low. “… I hope they provide USB charging points in all seats. I’d be a bit peeved to arrive somewhere with a flat battery. ”
Despite the hurdles that Qantas will need to get over to make this launch a success, there’s no doubt that providing passengers with free iPads for entertainment purposes is a step in the right direction.
Would you be more likely to book a flight on Qantas in light of the recent announcement?