Live In-Flight Entertainment: Pure Genius Or Terrible Idea?

virgin atlantic plane
Peter Russell, Flickr

It’s always a little annoying when you get on a flight and realize you’ve already seen all the movies and TV shows on offer, so it may come as a relief to learn that one airline has found a way of keeping in-flight entertainment as fresh as possible: put it on live.

Passengers traveling on certain Virgin Atlantic flights in the UK will be able to listen to live stand up comedy beginning this month, with music acts set to take place on flights starting September. The airline, which is known for its gimmicky schemes, says the details about which flights will have performances will stay a secret because they want to create a “one of a kind” experience for passengers.On the one hand, it’s a genius idea – you hop on what would otherwise be an uneventful flight and get to enjoy a well-known comedian or band for absolutely free. On the other hand, it could be one of the worst ideas in the airline industry since baggage fees were introduced. I mean, what if you were planning on sleeping or knocking off some work during your flight? And too bad if the comedian’s sense of humor grates on your nerves or the music isn’t to your liking, because you’re buckled in with nowhere to escape.

And then of course, there’s the issue of comedians bringing up sensitive subjects during their routine. What if they start joking about security or terrorism for instance? Is that okay or do they get booted off the flight? There are numerous cases of passengers being escorted off planes because of comments they made in jest, so where do you draw the line?