By the end of this year, Virgin
Australia’s fleet of 18 E190s will be equipped with wireless inflight entertainment
systems. Passengers will be able to
access hundreds of TV shows, movies and music selections on their mobile
devices, laptops and tablets starting September 16. The system has been testing since August of
last year during which some 200 thousand entertainment programs were
Virgin Australia is the first
operator to configure its E-Jets with the wireless system. An on-board server hosts all programming
content and distributes it to passenger devices through Wi-Fi hotspots throughout
the aircraft. The system is compatible
with iPad®, iPhone®, iPod Touch® and Android™ devices as well as with Microsoft®
Silverlight ® laptops.
Hardware installation, including
the server and Wi-Fi hotspots, is simple and quick. The airline is able to configure each E190
over three nights when the aircraft is parked for routine maintenance.
In 2012, research firm Flight View interviewed 2,600 passengers
about their use of portable devices when they travelled. The results showed 82% of respondents carried
smartphones, 38% brought laptops and 37% used tablets on board aircraft. Only 31% were satisified with the level of
inflight Wi-Fi access.
While Virgin Australia is the
first E-Jet operator to introduce wireless entertainment to hand-held devices,
JetBlue Airways, Delta Connection and Frontier Airlines offer Satellite TV and internet connectivity on their E-Jet