Airline ditches heavy, in-seat televisions in favor of the iPad

iPad on an airplane

Mentioned within a Bloomberg article this week, Scoot Pte has ripped out the aging, bulky television monitors from airplane seats and transitioned to Apple’s iPad for the entertainment of passengers. The television monitors and the rest of the electronic hardware that was removed from each plane weighed more than two tons in total. After this vast decrease in weight, the airline has able to add 40 percent more seating while still decreasing the weight of the plane with a full load of passengers by seven percent. Based out of Singapore, Scoot is attempting to compete with low cost airlines and profit by flying older planes to locations like Sydney, Australia and the Gold Coast airport near Brisbane, Australia.

Scoot airlinesAnyone flying in the Economy class will be able to rent an iPad for approximately $17 and use it for the duration of the flight. The iPad comes with a collection of pre-loaded television shows and movies as well as music and gaming applications. Anyone that spends more money on a Business class ticket will have free access to an iPad.

In the future, the airline plans to install a wireless system on each plane in order to allow users to surf the Web and play Internet-connected games like Words with Friends. Scoot hasn’t added the ability to reserve an iPad during the booking process yet, thus it’s likely that flight attendants will distribute iPads similar to the food service process during flights.

While airlines based within the United States have been fairly slow to offer a similar program for passengers, people flying out of Australia and Iceland are renting iPads during flights. Both JetStar Airline flights over 90 minutes and Iceland Express transatlantic flights have offered passengers iPad rentals since last year. Announced during 2011, Delta partnered with the food and beverage operator Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for a trial run of iPad rentals. Anyone flying Delta can rent the iPad for $29.95 per day, use it on their flight and mail it back with a pre-paid postage box after they have landed. 

Travelling at airportBeyond renting an iPad on a plane or within an airport, rental businesses that offer iPads to travelers after they land have popped up in several major cities around the world over the past year. A company called Flying Connected operates out of New York City and rents iPads to visiting tourists for as little as $10 per day.

The tablets are loaded with NYC-related applications and vary in price depending on 3G connectivity. Once a tourist lands in New York City, a Flying Connected rep meets them at the airport or the company will deliver the tablet to any NYC hotel. This type of service would be idea for anyone that wants to avoid heaving around a laptop bag during a trip.

A similar service called PadInTheCity operates out of Madrid and rents iPads for approximately $30 to $35 a day depending on conversion rates. In an interview with the CEO of PadInTheCity, Juan Gomez stated that the majority of the iPad rentals went to Americans as well as French, German and British customers.


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