Jetstar turns to the Apple iPad for inflight passenger entertainment

Our friends at TUAW are reporting on developments by Australian Airline Jetstar (a Qantas subsidiary) to offers its passengers inflight access to an iPad. The airline had trialed the iPad earlier this year, and that trial apparently worked well for them – as they are ready to move ahead with the deployment.

The plan is to have the rollout completed by Christmas, renting the 10″ tablet to passengers for about $10 per flight. The exact timing all depends on support and arrangements from Apple and media companies who’ll be supplying the entertainment content for the iPad.

Jetstar flies within Australia on a fleet of 41 Airbus A320 aircraft, and supplying iPad’s will obviously be much cheaper than installing a dedicated up-to-date inflight entertainment system. Still, $10 is quite a bit to ask for something that most airlines offer for free.

In the U.S., Virgin America provides a seatback entertainment system with a moving map, video and audio on demand, seat to seat messaging and even food and beverage orders. JetBlue entertains passengers with liveTV and satellite radio options.

Personally, I think the iPad as an inflight entertainment option is a little too “look how cool we are” and not a really practical solution. The device is obviously excellent, but the airline will still need to design a way to mount the iPad, as holding it for a three hour flight is really uncomfortable.


[Photo: AFP/Getty Images]