Until recent years, inflight entertainment options were very limited and you were lucky to even have your own screen. More often than not you would find yourself sharing a central screen with other passengers and watching whatever movie was selected for you by the airline. The worst part? You couldn’t even use your own headphones because the adapters were made for a unique solid plastic contraption that had terrible sound quality. If this didn’t tickle your fancy then you just read whatever book, magazine or newspaper you picked up in the airport.
But, fast-forward to present day and the on-board entertainment has dramatically changed for the better with high quality sound, crisp video and interactive, touch screens. Depending on the airline, passengers have hundreds of hours of movie, television and audio options, including Wi-Fi, games and built in seat to seat messenger.
So, it begs the question. Which airline has the best on-board entertainment?
1. Etihad Airways
This superb Abu Dhabi airline uses an E-Box system to offer the latest global movies, which ranges from old school classics to recent blockbusters providing a bit of everything for everyone. With a large selection of television shows, there is even live news and sporting events on select flights. So, what makes Etihad so great? Well, they offer the ability to create your own video tailored playlists, with multiple languages and subtitles. Throw in more than 500 artists in the audio section, 60 Android-based games and optional W-Fi and you’re onto a winner.
2. Virgin Atlantic
One of the biggest names in the aviation industry, Virgin emanates an air of luxury, comfort and well….a bit of class. The London-based airline offers passengers the latest movies, the hottest television shows, a huge library of music and an amazing selection of fun games. Don’t forget to check out their audio where you can listen to Vera’s exclusive interviews on ‘The List’. Settle back, get comfortable and chill out listening to interviews with the likes of Dave Grohl, Luke Spiller, George Ezra and Paloma Faith. The airline offers Wi-Fi on its fleet of A330, A340, 747 and 787 jets.
3. Singapore Airlines
Number two on the list of world’s best airlines, Singapore airlines has long been considered a leader in on-board entertainment with their KrisWorld system. Having an impressive collection of over 1000 movies, you will be hard pressed to find something you don’t want to watch on there to keep you entertained for the whole flight. If, by some unique chance nothing catches your eye then you can always rely on their large quantity of television shows and music from around the globe. Need something more interactive? Their games are designed to keep passengers happy and entertained on its long-haul flights, with traditional and modern games for every age. They also offer in-flight Wi-Fi on its fleet of A380s, A350s and Boeing 777-300ERs.
This airline is especially well known for their number one on-board entertainment called Ice System. It’s almost as if this Dubai based company do not want you to be bored on its long-haul flights, so it offers more than 2,500 channels of movies, TV shows, music, and games, all on demand and in multiple languages. The best part about having all this entertainment at your fingertips? It’s all provided on digital widescreen monitors placed into the headrest with audio description and closed captions for those who are hearing or visually impaired. There’s a dedicated channel for eSports enthusiasts and the chance to brush up on your language skills with uTalk videos featuring Arabic, French, German, Italian, or Spanish lessons. And it offers limited free Wi-Fi on its long-haul flights.
5. Delta Airlines
The Atlanta-based carrier claims it was the first U.S. airline to offer all inflight entertainment for free. Under its Delta Studio product, travellers can indulge in more than 1,000 hours of entertainment, either on their tablet or smartphone or via the seatback screen for movies, television and music. Passengers need to download the ‘Gogo’ Entertainment App (via iTunes or Google Play) in order to get Delta Studio programming. Delta also uses ‘Gogo’ to provide in-flight Wi-Fi access on its two-cabin aircraft and all of its wide body, long-haul jets.
6. Thai Airways
This Thailand based airline offers more than a 1,000 hours’ worth of movies, short films, games, music, news and information, all viewed on a large personal seatback screen. There’s also a dedicated channel with kid- and family-friendly movies and television shows. World Cinema features programming with subtitles and language channels which is quite handy when some of the films are in Thai but you want to know what’s going on. You can also connect to the net with in-flight W-Fi using Thai Sky Connect offered on its fleet of Airbus A350-900s and A380-800s and selected A330-330 flights.
Australia’s flag carrier offers comprehensive in-flight entertainment on its long-haul flights, including new release movies, TV programs, and an extensive CD library. On its A380, A330 and selected Boeing 747s, travellers have more than 1500 entertainment options, with more than 100 movies, 500 TV programs, 800 music options, 18 radio channels and daily Sky News coverage. There’s also a dedicated kids channel with programming and games.
One unique feature that Qantas offers is nearly 4,000 digital magazines and newspapers from around the world on the Qantas app powered by PressReader, the world's largest newspaper and magazine platform. The airline also provides fast and free in-flight Wi-Fi on its domestic flights.
8. Qatar Airways
This Doha-based airline is well known for its impressive Oryx One inflight entertainment system that offers passengers more than 3,000 viewing and listening options. When it comes to movies, the Qatar Airways offer the usual Hollywood blockbusters but goes a step further with options for Arabic, Bollywood, Asian, Indian and European films. Television show options include documentaries, European, Asia, Hindi, Urdu, TED Talks and sports. Audio options include thousands of hours of music and talk in every genre, and games ranging from checkers to casino games. It also offers Wi-Fi on its fleet of Airbus A380s, A350s and A319s, along with its Boeing 787s and select A320, A321, and A330-200 fleet.
Be sure to check out my website Take The Leap Travel for more information and travel advice as well as my Instagram @explorewithlee and @taketheleaptravel.
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