Emirates is widely regarded as the benchmark in in-flight entertainment. Its 13 consecutive SkyTrax Best In-Flight Entertainment Awards leave little room for competitors to challenge this. But what sets Emirates’ in-flight entertainment apart?
Emirates was the first airline to install TV screens in every seat on all its aircraft 1992 and the first airline to allow mobile phone use inflight in 2008.
Today the airline provides one of the most comprehensive and state-of-the-art entertainment and connectivity services in the skies. ice – that’s what Emirates’ in-flight entertainment system is called, offers over 3,500 channels of entertainment, including over 700 movies from around the world and 90 kids’ channels.
Their offering has grown exponentially over the decades from the 17 video channels, 22 radio channels and two external cameras beaming pictures of take-off and landing on personal video systems in all classes. Today ice can be viewed in high definition (HD) on larger personal TV screens – 32 inches in First Class, 23 inches in Business Class and 13.3 inches in Economy Class.
Emirates’ offering includes 2470 curated music channels, 347 TV channels including live sports channels to catch all the World Cup action, 39 language options and content with audio descriptions (AD) and closed captions (CC) for the visually and hearing impaired. According to Fouad Caunhye, Emirates Regional Manager for Southern Africa, it would take a passenger about 43 trips between Johannesburg & Dubai to watch the entire collection of movies alone.
“The investment in passenger-focused solutions like entertainment, Food &Beverages is a key differentiator which sets us apart from the competition and on our own course. Whether it’s our friendly cabin crew drawn from over 135 countries, onboard connectivity or in-flight entertainment, we have been trailblazer of sorts,” he said.
“If you are flying this month, you can easily feel at home with movies like Vuil Wasgoed and Nul is Nie Niks Nie and if African music is your preference, then we have over 30 channels of music from all over the continent.
“For kids and young adults, we have dedicated channels playing Disney, Harry Potter, DC Comics and Marvel movies as well as dozens of channels for preschool kids,” said Caunhye.
If connectivity is your main requirement when travelling, then Emirates has you covered as more than 98% of Emirates’ fleet is equipped with Wi-Fi. Over the years, Emirates has invested more than US $200 million to equip its aircraft with connectivity. “Demand for Wi-Fi on board has been steadily increasing and today over a million Emirates passengers per month connect while inflight,” Caunhye added.
According to Emirates, one passenger, a member of its Skywards loyalty programme, recently consumed 4.9GB of complimentary data during their flight from Dubai to Johannesburg.
This is very possible, considering that all Emirates seats feature USB ports and PC power outlets across all cabin classes.
“We anticipated the trend of passengers bringing their own devices on board for entertainment. Our investment in the new generation Wi-Fi solution to meet the increasing demand for connectivity coupled with further improvements to the inflight entertainment system will provide a further boost to Emirates’ award-winning inflight entertainment system, ice,” said Caunhye, who emphasised the need for connectivity to keep modern travellers happy.