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Long haul flights about to get exciting

Savour a lot more than gourmet chocolates and fine wine when you fly. From large, personalised television screens that deliver a gamut of channels and films, to exclusive bars and duty-free stores, in-flight entertainment options are now...

entertainment Updated: Sep 29, 2011 01:05 IST
Shara Ashraf

Savour a lot more than gourmet chocolates and fine wine when you fly. From large, personalised television screens that deliver a gamut of channels and films, to exclusive bars and duty-free stores, in-flight entertainment options are now abound to sweep boredom out of long haul flights.

Over 1200 entertainment channels with over 280 movies from around the globe, hundreds of television options and music tracks — that’s what Emirates Airline’s in-flight entertainment system, ice (information communication entertainment), offers. Kids can be kept busy with 30 hours of BBC CBeebies and Cartoon Network hits. Ice is available in first, business as well as economy class. Passengers on board can also enjoy 22 audio channels in languages, such as Arabic, English, Japanese, Hindi, Indonesian, Cantonese and Mandarin among others. “I recently travelled by Japan Airlines that serves wonderful gourmet cuisine on the flight. There were over 100 movies that I could watch on my personal monitor. The seven-hour flight from Delhi to Narita, Tokyo, passed in a jiffy,” says Kamalika Ghosh, a Delhi-based financial consultant, sharing her experience with the new in-flight facilities.

Cathay Pacific Airways offers its first class passengers a personal entertainment system with a 17” widescreen personal TV, whereas StudioCX, the airline’s in-flight entertainment system, has a variety of entertainment for all the passengers. Each seat in the airplane is equipped with a personal TV with 26 video channels. The AVOD (Audio/Video On Demand) system allows all passengers on the aircraft to choose from more than 100 movies, 500 TV programmes, 888 CDs and 22 radio channels in a variety of languages. Virgin America has also announced a revamp of its in-flight entertainment system, Red, by late 2012. It will offer seatback entertainment and connectivity through personal electronic devices, enabling download of content pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight.

Emirates also has a bar and lounge installed for its first and business class passengers on its A380 fleet. “The bar and lounge is a place where strangers meet, chat over drinks and become buddies by the time the plane lands,” says Patrick Brannelly, vice president, corporate communications, product, publishing, digital & events, Emirates Airline.

Australia’s Qantas, will be rolling out Q streaming — a wireless technology that will stream music, films and TV shows directly to iPad, as well as their own tablet, laptop, smartphone or other WiFi-enabled device.

Drink, shop, fly
Korean Air’s new A380, the first A380 service between Asia and New York, has three bars for premium passengers that includes a cocktail lounge, a self-service bar and an exclusive bar for first-class passengers. The aircraft also has the world’s first in-flight duty-free outlet that sells cosmetics, perfumes, liquor and accessories, which are magnetised so that they don’t fall off the shelves during air turbulence.