Qantas first to get in-flight movies on iPads

Qantas first to get in-flight movies on iPads

Chocks away for trial of new wireless entertainment system based on Apple tablets
Qantas hopes to deliver iPad movies across the fleet if the trial is a success.

Aussie national airline Qantas has become the latest carrier to experiment with new ways to deliver in-flight entertainment to passengers, after it went public with a trial of its new Q Streaming system using Wi-Fi-connected iPads.

By replacing the traditional entertainment on some of its Boeing 767-300 aircraft with the Apple tablet, Qantas has set up an instant field test of its own Q Streaming channel, which is based on Lufthansa’s BoardConnect technology.

Hands on

In use, passengers find an iPad 2 in each seat pocket that’s loaded with a Q Streaming app and a fully charged battery.

Other apps are locked down, leaving users to browse what Qantas says is more than 200 hours of video and audio programming delivered over a password-protected wireless network.

Qantas executive Alison Webster said passengers are responding favorably so far.

“The Q Streaming trial has been well received by our customers and the feedback from the trial has been overwhelmingly positive,” she said in a press release.

“Customers have enjoyed the flexibility and ease of use of the Q Streaming and the wide range of content available.”

At the start of the trial, access is restricted to the company’s specially adapted iPads, but Qantas is aiming to open it up to passengers’ own wireless-capable equipment, including computers and Android devices.

Seat-back screens finished?

The pilot scheme is intended to assess the viability and cost-effectiveness of using wireless tablets over traditional seat-back video-on-demand systems.

Security measure include -- according to the Qantas Facebook page -- measures to alert airline staff to the whereabouts of each iPad.

“For those wondering about the iPads being removed from the aircraft,” it says, “the Qantas iPads have a tracking application installed and will not work outside of the aircraft.”

Lastly, if you’re curious, the Q Streaming trial is restricted to the Boeing 767 for now simply because the aircraft lacks seat-back screens and has only overhead monitors and bulkhead displays.