In-flight entertainment and connectivity vendors don’t do well with deadlines. Like major airframers, they often agree to overly ambitious delivery schedules, only to end up missing the mark by many months or even years.
Such delays are not always the fault of IFE&C suppliers. Airlines play their part as well, opting sometimes to keep aircraft in revenue service rather than allow downtime for lengthy retrofits. But more often than not, the IFE&C industry is the stumbling block.
Now is the time for the industry to change its track record of tardiness and rebuild – or just build – its credibility. Passengers’ expectations have increased to the point where airlines are finally ready to offer superfast in-flight internet and state-of-the-art entertainment to mimic the home theatre experience. Airlines know that robust IFE&C in-seat platforms have become the cost of doing long-haul business, and that in-flight connectivity is becoming increasingly important on short-haul flights. They’re ready to lay out significant expenditure to offer it. But some are still worried about promises made and broken.
The IFE&C vendors that reverse that perception by setting realistic deadlines for equipage and then making good on those deadlines are the ones that will ultimately win the prize. Those who do not will miss out on an impending financial windfall.
If you need evidence of said impending windfall, check out Flight International’s latest IFE&C feature packet. (For the record, I prefer the acronym IFEC over IFE&C, but the copy editors have their own view on the matter. I’m working to change that view. :0)
(“Late for work” photo above from Eneas Flickr photo stream)