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Hawaiian Airlines enhances in-flight entertainment via personal tablets

Hawaiian Airlines will offer iPad minis on all of its wide-body Boeing 767-300 airplanes in order to provide better in-flight entertainment for travelers.

The iPad minis will replace the current portable entertainment systems on the B767 routes. Hawaiian Airlines worked with Bluebox Avionics to provide the new in-flight entertainment solution, which will offer more than 100 hours of movies, TV shows and interactive games.

?In-seat Wi-Fi has made the specialized display technology investments of those suppliers obsolete,? said Brennan Hayden, vice president of mobile at [x+1], New York.

?Programming has always been the key differentiator for IFE suppliers, and this offering from Bluebox allows them to focus on programming rather than display technology,? he said.

?The smaller form factor is just more practical in an airline seat, and also less expensive. Keep in mind, many people may also be coordinating use of their own electronic devices in-seat as well. Three iPads in a three-row seat means less elbow room.?

Mr. Hayden is not affiliated with Hawaiian Airlines. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Hawaiian Airlines did not respond to press inquiries.

In-flight entertainment
The airline will offer 1,500 iPad minis on 14 B767 airplanes that serve 14 routes between Hawaii and the United States mainland, Asia and South Pacific.

Business class travelers will receive a complimentary tablet, but other travelers will have the option to rent one. If they rent it at the departure gate before boarding it will cost $15, and if there are extras available on the flight, travelers will be able to purchase them for $17 in-flight.

According Hawaii Airlines, it is the first U.S. carrier to offer iPad minis on its planes.

Bluebox Avionics also provides entertainment services that travelers can use on their own devices, but it is unclear whether or not Hawaiian Airlines will be enabling that feature.

Mobile airlines
Other airlines have also been adding tablets to their in-flight experience but for different purposes.

At eTail East, a JetBlue executive spoke about how the company is using in-flight tablets, Wi-Fi and wearable technology to enhance the travel experience. Unlike Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue provides in-flight tablets to its employees to deliver better customer service (see story).

Delta also gave its in-flight employees tablets to improve customer service. The company?s employees are now able to accept payment for in-flight products via the tablets (see story).

?With network connectivity being so ubiquitous, failure to provide a quality mobile experience everywhere is increasingly seen as poor customer service and even poor brand messaging,? Mr. Hayden said.

?And the travel industry, particularly at the high-end, puts a high premium on customer service,? he said. ?Regardless of industry though, a quality brand today has to present a quality mobile esthetic, regardless of the touch point.?

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York