AIX 2013: Creating a richer inflight experience

A panel consisting of Dawood Saud Al Raisi (Oman Air), Guomunder Oskarsson (Icelandair), Jamie Perry (JetBlue Airlines) and Neil James (Panasonic Avionics) looked at how connectivity can create a richer passenger experience.

The first point was made by Neil James, Panasonic Avionics. He said that his company tries to change the conversation they have with airlines – moving away from using the term “entertainment system” and to getting airlines to think of it as a “business platform”.

"The longest touch-point an airline has with a customer is while they are in the air. Our job is to provide a better platform for that business relationship," James said.

Guomunder Oskarsson, Icelandair, said that connectivity was opening up new opportunities for the airline. "It is just like the home – people want more options and opportunities for entertainment while in the air," he said.

Dagwood Al Raisi, Oman Air, said that its OnAir connectivity is a big plus for the airline. He also added that they never receive complaints about lack of bandwidth for its Inmarsat SwiftBroadband-based L-band service.

"The only complaints we get relate to the filtering of content," he said. "And with the restrictions on connectivity we have to apply when we overfly a certain military area."

In terms of cabin crew, JetBlue’s Perry said it is looking at rolling out a new device for taking payments from passengers. It is also going to roll out electronic flight bags (EFBs) for the cockpit. Icelandair is also looking at introducing tablets for cabin crew and also new ways of helping to save the airline money.

"For example, we can supply manuals on tablets and also let cabin crew deal with customer issues, such as lost baggage, while they are still in the air," said Oskarsson.

Neil James said Panasonic’s role is to get out of the airline’s way. "We provide the APIs and let our customers develop what they want – our business is not about knowing what cabin crew want. That is best left to the airline," he said. "We concentrate on what we do best."

Steve Nichols, Inflight /
Hamburg, Germany

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