Illustration: Ricardo Polo
“I’ve never heard of anyone crying inappropriately on trains, on buses or on boats, or cars.”
– Brett Martin, This American Life.
Feature article “The Crying Plane” from our recent Journey Issue has spurred much conversation and a few confessions surrounding the tears we shed when 30,000 feet in the clouds. Our discussion led us to an episode of This American Life in which Brett Martin reveals his tendency to cry in-flight. He states he is not an on-land crier and is a confident, experienced air traveler. Martin also maintains he is not alone. His This American Life piece includes comments from other in-flight criers including one professional film critic who admits to crying during an emotional American Express commercial, before the plane had even left the runway.
Martin’s theory is such that the happy scenes, focused on relationships, success or achievement during in-flight entertainment cause us tears due to relief and the understanding things will turn out okay. This makes sense. Every time we fly we take a risk, same as when we drive a car, but the difference is that during air travel we are unable to participate in or tangibly see the progress of the journey.
Our fate is in the hands of the airline crew. Between take off and destination, Martin likens passengers to children, sitting in their seats and doing as they’re told, which is essentially true. Especially as misbehaving on a flight results in more than a time out. So the resolution a film can provide when things turn out alright emulates the anticipation of the wheels hitting the runway once we’re safely at our destination.
Martin’s opinion supports our recent article that crying on the plane is a common practice and not one to fret about. Due to anonymity among travel neighbors, generally what happens in the air, stays in the air and you’re free to get weepy. Except when you agree to be interviewed on the radio and admit an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond had you welling up – then, there may be consequences.
For more coverage from the APEX/IFSA EXPO, read Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 of the Daily Experience, or visit the APEX/IFSA EXPO 2014 section of our website.
Tablets were hot on the trade show floor at this year’s APEX/IFSA EXPO. Bluebox Avionics, a partner in platform innovation with DMD Phantom had a busy trade show, showing off their new Bluebox hybrid, an in-flight entertainment (IFE) system that allows streaming to integrate with pre-loaded early window content. This highly secure functionality gives movie providers the peace of mind that their content is exclusive and passenger the freedom to be connected while still enjoying the airline perks of newly released entertainment.
Bluebox Ai is the award-winning secure IFE application for iPad and iPad mini, run on airline-owned devices, allowing airlines control of their content. Bluebox wiFE is the unique cabin streaming solution co-developed with Cobham Aerospace Communications. Together these applications offer high quality entertainment experience for passengers either fitted or portable locked in, secure content for airlines.
Kevin Clark of Bluebox took us through the application demonstrating the games, magazines, audio and visuals securely loaded onto the tablet. Airlines are able to brand the software to align with their image giving passengers a holistic experience and no shortage of entertainment options. It was a busy EXPO for DMD Phantom and Bluebox, “never a dull moment on the trade show floor,” laughs Clark.
Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced their continued partnership with OnAir on September 17th at the APEX/IFSA EXPO to bring Wi-Fi and Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) onto all of their A330 and select A340 fleets. They have started removing embedded in-flight entertainment in business class on A330s in favor of the new connectivity service. Passengers can access a range of movies and television programs onboard through the wireless system using their own devices, and so far the response from customers has been positive.
Ana Leah Rodriguez, head of Marketing and Ancillary Revenue for Philippine Airlines, explained that for certain markets like the Middle East this is the right option for the company. “On selected routes and aircraft, OnAir allows PAL to give a different type of service and concept in business class,” Rodriguez said.
CEO of OnAir, Ian Dawkins, agrees with Rodriguez and believes this change is the way of the future. “I believe Philippine Airlines are setting the benchmark which other airlines will follow in coming years,” Dawkins said.
OnAir Play, a wireless entertainment media solution, was introduced onboard PAL in May this year, and PAL’s B77-300ER aircraft are also equipped with Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir. As Dawkins adds, “There is no better proof of an airline’s confidence in your products than a follow-on fleet extension order within a short timeframe.”
TEAC was founded in 1953 producing magnetic and optical recording technologies and in the 1970s, began working with the military. In-flight-entertainment wasn’t even a thought as they serviced military planes, building the world’s first videotape cassette in 1972. When the company realized their robust, rugged, turbulence-proof hardware, which comes with a 21-year guarantee, was successfully surviving military missions they wondered if there might be other in-flight opportunities where their products would thrive.
Since their early days TEAC has been an innovator, developing advanced state-of-the-art technologies and products designed for audio, video and data recording markets. TEAC entered the world of in-flight entertainment (IFE) in 1996 with products based on NASA certified technology. Quality, performance and reliability were their focus then and remain their focus today.
David Husted, senior vice-president of Strategic Business Development for TEAC, is excited to be back in the commercial airline arena. He explained to us that for the last 10 years TEAC explored other ventures. TEAC never left IFE but that the company’s marketing efforts were elsewhere and now they’re back in full force at events like the APEX/IFSA EXPO and other key trade shows around the world. Their plug-and-play hardware is easily adaptable, easy to upgrade to stay with changing IFE demands and cost effective.
APEX/IFSA EXPO was a great opportunity for TEAC to reconnect and be the new kid back on the block, again, but this time with a wealth of experience to back them up.