If you're planning to fly Air India to Europe, USA or any other long-haul destination in the next few days, you'll have to entertain yourself because the in-flight entertainment system in most AI aircraft won't work.
Except a few aircraft, cabin crew on AI flights have been told to keep the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system switched off.
The reason is that the IFE contract AI had entered into has expired.
"We don't have the licensing rights to the current IFE content on board," said an internal communication to cabin crew. Sources, however, said AI had defaulted on payments.
Despite the strike by a section of its pilots, AI has been operating about 50 international flights, 75 Gulf flights and 42 regional flights.
Pilots and cabin crew told HT the recent order was causing a huge embarrassment for them and that passengers travelling first class and business class have been reacting furiously. Sources said most of the airline's Boeing 777s and 747 jumbos had been affected.
"Since we were told to keep the IFE off, we made an announcement that due to technical problems, the system wasn't working. But no passenger who has bought a ticket for Rs 1 lakh or more will buy that argument. It was a very difficult situation to handle," a co-pilot said.
An AI official, however, said, "This is a temporary problem and would be sorted in a week."