Qantas passengers go hi-tech
Qantas passengers on the airline's 767 planes will be provided with iPads for their in-flight entertainment, following a successful trial of new in-air streaming technology.
The airline announced today that passengers in both business and economy classes would be given iPads on board which they could use to access more than 200 hours of entertainment programmes.
The first aircraft with the technology installed is set to roll out in the fourth quarter of this year. The technology, known as QStreaming, will be available predominantly on domestic east coast routes and on flights to Perth.
"Our customers were the first in the world to experience the ground-breaking wi-fi entertainment technology and we received great feedback from our customers during the trial this year," said Qantas domestic chief executive Lyell Strambi.
"QStreaming will be available free of charge to all our passengers across the B767 fleet."
Providing free iPads to all classes is the latest shot in an ongoing war between Australia's two largest airlines.
In-flight entertainment is shaping up to be one of the key battle grounds between Qantas and rival Virgin Australia as they battle over customers, particularly in business class.
Virgin Australia trialled in-flight entertainment via pre-loaded Samsung Galaxy tablet computers in its business class cabins on board Boeing 737 and Embraer E190 planes in April. The Galaxy tablets are expected to be provided to business class passengers free of charge, with a fee for economy class passengers.
Virgin is also planning to provide on-board Wi-Fi internet access.
Jetstar began offering pre-loaded iPads to passengers for in-flight entertainment late last year, which can be pre-booked or rented on board for A$10-$15.
Using lightweight tablet computers allows airlines to greatly reduce the weight of their aircraft, through the removal of existing in-flight entertainment systems that can weigh more than two tonnes.
The reduced weight allows airlines to make huge savings on their biggest expense - fuel.