Nine years after attending my first World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) conference and exhibition in Anaheim, California, I'm headed back to the West Coast for the organization's 30th annual expo in Palm Springs.
As I pack my bags for tomorrow's flight, I am reminded that much has changed in the world of in-flight entertainment since I first stepped foot on the WAEA show floor in 2000 (and later hit some of the after-hours events, ahem).
And yet, much remains the same.
In-flight connectivity, for example, was the big buzz term in 2000 (check out some of my first "IFEC" articles below).
Everyone in Anaheim seemed to have a bright idea for bringing in-flight text messaging, email, "feels like Internet" and full-blown Internet to passengers.
Today, connectivity is still the big buzz and, frankly, many stakeholders are still trying to understand how it fits into the equation. But the industry has come a long way baby!
Thanks in part to connectivity, the way we journalists report on the industry has also evolved. This year, I will be joined in covering the WAEA show by Flight journalist and blogger extraordinaire Jon Ostrower, aka Flightblogger. Be sure to check out Flight Global's web site for all the latest news, blogs and video from WAEA.
If you're a Twitter fan, we'll be tweeting throughout the show. Follow us and participate in the chat at the following hashtags #WAEA and #IFEC.
Inflightonline chief says customer to be named soon
Mary Kirby, Los Angeles (21Sep00, 03:51 GMT, 230 words)
Although Internet service provider Inflightonline.com's plan to announce an airline customer at the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) conference and exhibition in Anaheim, California this week has not come to fruition, the company insists it will shortly announce a program with an international carrier.
Company president David Bruner tells ATI that Inflightonline.com will operate the undisclosed carrier's in-flight Internet content under its own brand, rather than as a wholly customized product for the carrier.
ATI sister publication Flight International previously reported that more than 30 aircraft will be involved in the deal.
Inflightonline.com also has a letter of intent from a US carrier to conduct a one-aircraft trial of its content. Bruner says that this will take place about a month after the first deal is announced.
A rash of other in-flight entertainment specialists, avionics manufacturers and Internet service providers here at WAEA are proposing numerous models for which to provide airlines with in-flight e-mail, intranet and Internet capabilities.
Bruner says Inflightonline.com's offering differs in that it will be extremely cost effective, as the content providers absorb most of the cost. Inflightonline's charge for hosting a company's site for one month will be equivalent to a 30sec video spot charged on board an aircraft for one day, he says.
Inflightonline.com has relationships with approximately 100 web sites but expects that number to grow to 400 over the next few weeks.
Source: Air Transport Intelligence news
SIA to begin in-flight e-mail trials
Mary Kirby, Los Angeles (20Sep00, 07:35 GMT, 188 words)
Singapore Airlines (SIA) has agreed to field the first in-flight entertainment (IFE) products to surface from the alliance between Honeywell and Matsushita Avionics Systems, including the partnership's e-mail offerings.
The companies say in a joint statement released today at the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) conference and exhibition in Anaheim, California that the evaluation is scheduled to begin in December onboard an SIA Boeing 747-400. The trial will run for a two-month period.
Primary applications will include Honeywell's Inflightmail e-mail service, credit card verification and terminal area wireless network. The service will be integrated with Matsushita's highly popular System 2000E IFE system.
Although these services have already been certified by the FAA on corporate aircraft, the Singapore installation will be one of the first FAA certifications of an airborne e-mail service for airline passengers, says the vice president and general manager responsible for Honeywell's aviation information systems business, John Uczekaj.
Follow-on applications also being considered for implementation upon completion of the trial include intranet, point-of-sale, e-commerce, and others.
Matsushita Avionics Systems president Takashim Mizuma calls the company's alliance activities with Honeywell "a natural extension of our core capabilities".
Source: Air Transport Intelligence news