What I HATE about in-flight entertainment systems

Woman thinking on planeThis article was written by an actual passenger who is not a digEcor customer. Simply someone at random. All we did was ask, “What do you hate about in-flight entertainment systems?” Hopefully you don’t get too many calls or emails from passengers with a similar view. Also, here’s a link to our sister post What I LOVE about IFE article.

It might sound snobby, especially coming from a perpetual economy cabin patron, but the absolute most deflating thing to see when squeezing down the tight airplane aisles and shoving my carry-on into the cramped overhead bins is a 12-inch TV hanging from the ceiling. These televisions, or relics from our technological past, may or may not be near enough for passengers to even see. Of course, there are many other types of in-flight entertainment systems designed to annoy their audience with their many defects, which I intend to delve into here.

I will begin with the worst offenders, those chunky TVs suspended from the center of the plane. Sometimes, well more like all the times, when I get bored with the movie I will compare the colors of the televisions. It is actually more entertaining to count the number of different colors one human’s skin tone can be on an airplane’s television set than actually watch whatever movie is on. This same sentiment goes for the moderately more modern in-flight system that puts the screens directly above the passenger’s heads. These screens are even smaller than their predecessors, make a delightful grinding noise when they unfold from the ceiling, and there are always a few with exciting jumpy pictures.

All types of in-flight systems also require a headset and a functioning sound system. In some cases, the airline will force you to buy headsets in order to watch the movie. Not to worry, if you have your own ear buds they will work. Well, unless they don’t. In some cases only one bud will work or the sound system in your seat will just be broken. At least you are spared from a movie that is inevitably the cinematic equivalent of oatmeal.

Newer in-flight systems, which are about as technologically advanced as the first generation iPod, actually endow the economy passenger with their own TV screen. These include games, as exciting and innovative as Tetris, and hours of recorded television shows and movies. Of course, the major downfall of these otherwise adequate systems is the inevitability of coming into a show or movie in the middle. The recordings are shown on loops that only psychics could watch from the beginning without overlap.

It seems that the airlines might be able to figure out how to design a functioning in-flight system, one that does not cause neck pain, eyestrain, or chronic annoyance. On one of my recent flights, my screen was broken and the volume button on my armrest was stuck. I didn’t mind missing the movie or random TV shows, but it seemed like missing the emergency information was a problem. In any case, the best bet for in-flight entertainment systems might be an even more ancient form of technology: a good book.

For more information about a handheld IFE solution, read about the digEplayer L7.

About Adam Williams

With six years of IFE experience, Adam is currently a freelance writer for several industry publications and marketing consultant for vendors. He can be found online at BrandFailure.com and @SpeakWithAdam.

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