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Lesley's Column

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5th September 2016

Digital focus on inflight innovations

The acceleration of wifi installations onboard aircraft around the world, combined with the large number of passengers carrying one or more digital devices, is creating a momentum that sees many of today’s inflight innovations focusing on digital developments.

Airlines around the world are responding to the large number of passengers carrying smartphones, notebooks, tablets and e-readers by equipping seats with power and USB ports. A number of airlines and interior suppliers are also looking at ways to integrate passengers’ own devices with the design of the seat.

Besides creating storage space for personal electronic devices for the more spacious seating arrangements in Business Class, several seat manufacturers are also beginning to incorporate smartly designed spaces in Economy seats where passengers can store their mobile device.

In the past year, airlines such as Emirates, British Airways, Iberia, KLM and EVA Air have equipped their pursers with tablets. This allows cabin crew to see previous trips that a passenger has taken with the carrier and, based on this, know their food, wine and seating preferences, or any issues a customer had during their previous travels.

One of the largest initiatives in this area comes from British Airways, which has provided 2,000 senior cabin crew across its long and short-haul network with an iPad featuring its ‘Enhanced Services Platform’, it consists of several apps that allow flight attendants to store and receive relevant passenger details in real-time.

Aircraft are becoming more and more connected. Tablets and smartphones give airlines an ability to re-look at every aspect of the business; they’ve opened things up in a way that just a few years ago wasn’t conceivable.