Passenger power

By | Category: Travel news

Airline passengers are having a big effect on how airlines are operating what they call their IFE (in-flight entertainment) systems.

Remember all those years ago when there were just a couple of screens that dropped down from the ceiling and you watched what everyone else watched? That is a thing of the past with most airlines.

Today the entertainment systems you see in the back of seats are enabled so that you can see a string of movies, play games, learn about the services of the airline and some will let you view the flightpath ahead from cameras positioned on the outside of the aircraft.

But all this presents a problem to the airlines. How do they make money from it?

As Miguel Ferreira who is in charge of IFE at the Portuguese airline TAP put it, 65% of all passengers just look at the movies. And movies cost the airline money. They licence them from suppliers but can they charge us passengers? No. Some run a block of advertisements before the film we want to see; many don’t.

The answer, according to Ferreira, is to create your own content so he has been dealing with independent suppliers who pitch ideas to him. One such is Riding Portugal which was so successful that it garnered more views on the flights than did Game of Thrones. Ferreira takes the content and slices it so that ads, airline messages and information can be inserted as and when he wishes. In this way not only does the content cost him a fraction of what it would cost to licence a film of Game of Thrones. He wouldn’t say what the difference was when I met him at the World Aviation Festival in London recently but I gained the impression that it was substantial.

Secondly he takes the information that he knows about passengers such as destination, whether there are children or not in the party, and what else they have booked as part of the flight with TAP and then screens appropriate ads to them at some stage of the entertainment.

He encourages micro-influencers to produce localised content that he believes his passengers will want to see and uses an algorithm to decide who sees what ads.

You might be thinking that this all runs on the back of seat screens but most runs on the passenger’s ipad. Each of them is given a password on the “boarding card” and this is used to log into the content. Swap seats with someone and it doesn’t matter. Your password is unique to you so the content you receive is tailored to you.

In the future, Ferreira believes, passengers will want to view content on their own devices so that they can access their own content along with that provided by the airlines. He has already seen passenger satisfaction figures rise after the introduction of the new approach on TAP’s narrow body jets.

When fitted to all their planes it looks as though passenger satisfaction will be even higher.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , , , , ,