The 4Q and full-year earnings bloodbath that US airlines are announcing right now has me a little preoccupied. But I must take a moment to recognize Singapore Airlines (SIA) for offering Apple iPod and iPhone connectivity over Panasonic IFE to all passengers on its first newly delivered Airbus A330-300.
SIA claims to be the first in the world to have this unique feature in economy class after it made its debut on the airline's all-business class A340-500 last year.
"Besides the iPod and iPhone connectivity facility, the multi-port panel contains a USB port, enabling customers to listen to their own music, view their photos or read PDFs. It will also contain an audio-video input, which enables them to plug in their portable media players, to watch their favourite videos via the inflight entertainment system."
The news comes at a time when rival Thales has started to get more vocal about its iPod action. In a recent note to journalists, Thales said the following:
"In 2009, we anticipate that our IFE customer base will continue to expand and our offerings will further mature.
"More specifically, we are developing new system capabilities focused on passenger personalization, iPod integration and airline revenue generation.
"On the service side, Thales will further develop its Airline Operations Centre (AOC) which provides round-the-clock technical assistance and we will increase the number of airport service centres for meet and greet support."
There will be plenty more to say about this later. Now it's back to American Airlines and that $2.1 billion net loss for 2008.
Good God almighty!