Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet has signed on to launch a new portable inflight entertainment (IFE) device, which can be clipped to a passenger’s tray table to free the space for food or beverages, the APEX editor’s blog can reveal.
Starting in June the so-called TrayVu Slim portable device from IFE firm SkyCast Solutions will be rented to WestJet passengers on board the airline’s two newest Boeing 737-800s. Two new additional 737-800s will carry TrayVu Slim units before the end of the year.
Unlike the lion’s share of WestJet’s fleet, the -800s will not offer live television systems from JetBlue Airways subsidiary LiveTV.
With the TrayVu Slim, WestJet passengers will have access to early window movies, television programmes and kids shows; games will be added down the road and rental price points are still being evaluated.
“Offering our guests a dynamic inflight entertainment option like this is directly in line with our commitment to deliver a remarkable guest experience,” says WestJet VP, product and distribution Marshall Wilmot.
For the WestJet programme, SkyCast Solutions repurposed the Samsung 8.9in tablet, purchased all the equipment and designed all peripheral equipment.
“We created a very user-friendly interface (android system) that was custom designed with WestJet brand standards. SkyCast will offer user interface customisation for any Slim customer,” says SkyCast Solutions chief marketing officer Greg Latimer.
SkyCast boasts that the TrayVu Slim, which weighs less than 2 lb, is “the only portable IFE device with duel stand/clip for optimum customer enjoyment”.
It says the TrayVu Slim “also provides airlines a new transition option if they desire to move to Skycast Solutions’ embedded TrayVu system”, a tray table IFE solution that was unveiled last year by SkyCast Solutions CEO Bill Boyer at the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) conference and exhibition in Seattle.
A former Alaska Airlines baggage handler, Boyer is credited with having conceived the first self-contained portable video on demand IFE unit, the digEplayer, which was later sold to Wencor (now digEcor).
“I am thrilled to be back in the portable IFE business and even more thrilled that we are launching with WestJet,” says Boyer. “The TrayVu Slim represents a whole new game for airlines who currently have portable IFE or who are looking at it.”
Latimer notes that SkyCast is not wedded to the Samsung 8.9in tablet for future TrayVu programmes, as it is “device agnostic”. With all of SkyCast’s testing, “we will be DO160G compliant”, he adds. WestJet, meanwhile, will evaluate the success of the TrayVu Slim portable IFE programme, and based on the results, will decide on possible expansion. See a photo of the TrayVu Slim on its stand below.