Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Flying High With the iPad

The Airline Industry Goes iPad-Crazy 

If you are thinking about whether you should sell your iPad and get another tablet PC, you should think twice. Consider the fact that this device is so versatile that it can be used for simple personal games as well as more complex tasks involved in flying. Starting last year, Alaska Airlines and United Continental purchased and issued iPads to their pilots to replace paper manuals and charts. American Airlines also secured approval from the US FAA as well to use the tablet to display digital manuals and charts for all phases of the flight, starting from takeoff to landing.

This is made possible through apps created specifically for pilot use by Jeppeson, a subsidiary of Boeing. Another app developed by Australian carrier, Qantas can provide pilots with up to date flight data and other relevant information. There’s no reason for you now to sell iPad because many airlines are also making these apps available for their customers so they can be updated with information such as flight times and luggage restrictions.

Aside from the obvious benefit of saving tons of paper (and trees), in the case of the airline industry, this move has eliminated a significant amount of weight during the flight. This in turn directly translates to increasing an airline’s savings in fuel consumption. Hopefully, this move will trickle down to the airline passengers in terms of lower ticket prices or fewer surcharges.

Aside from pilots, cabin crews and managers are also being equipped with iPads. For example, British Airways has issued iPads to their cabin crew. These tablets are loaded with data relevant to their jobs such as cabin information and a passenger manifest. Theoretically, this will make their job faster and more efficient.

However, this does not guarantee a better customer service experience for passengers. Even when the pilots and cabin crew have the best and latest gadgets, it is still their attitudes that make passengers feel that they had a wonderful flight experience. But then, if customer service means passengers being provided with an iPad for all flights, then who are we to complain? Qantas, already mentioned earlier as providing its crew with iPads, has also provided all passengers on their flights using the 767 aircraft iPads as well. The iPads are safely tucked in the pockets of every seat. So, there’s no need for passengers to pull out their own personal iPads and put it on ‘flight mode’ to be entertained. They can just enjoy the device the airline provides.

Aside from giving passengers entertainment options, the iPad can also mean a reduction in weight, as traditional screens used for passenger entertainment and other devices can definitely weigh more than iPads. Speaking of making planes lighter, that’s what Scoot Pte. experienced first-hand. This airline, the low cost carrier of Singapore Airlines, decided to substitute the iPad for all its in-flight entertainment options. Howe much weight was saved because of this effort? Two tons!

Even in the airline industry, it seems that the domination of the iPad is inevitable. If you don’t care that much about the airline industry though, then you might as well go sell your old and used iPad.


  1. Thank you for this very useful information. Hopefully it will help lead to other adoptions.
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  2. Thanx for sharing these useful tricks about traveling...
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