On a recent flight on a major US airline I like to fly, I was on a 757 that had a new inflight entertainment system. It looks really cool and offers a lot of functionality including movies, TV, music, games and a flight map (my favorite). The installation even required a change to the food trays because a little cut-out was required to fit the inflight entertainment screen. But while operating the system it became obvious to me that it’s a nice idea with not so good execution. Granted the product does what it’s supposed to do. My issue is with the user interface. All user interface functions are by a touch screen. The touch screen is not very sensitive, requiring multiple pokes to get what you want. The first poke being light and subsequent pokes getting harder and harder. Ultimately annoying the guy sitting in front of you. Then he reclines. While at the same time the lady sitting behind you is doing the same thing. I recline and a vicious cycle ensues. What problem is this airline trying to solve for it’s customers? If they would have placed some of their staff in planes to observe and interact with customers they would have learned that many people have MP3 players, their own headphones and watch movies on DVD players or their laptops. Oh wait, they do have staff on planes already. It’s the flight crew. Did anyone ask them? My buying criteria for whether I fly on one airline or another has absolutely nothing to do with their inflight entertain system. It’s not like I can choose the plane that has one or doesn’t when I make a reservation. Time to get back to iTunes on my laptop with my JVC noise canceling headphones. Joe Satriani’s “Summer Song” is playing. Way too loud. Sorry I missed your gig in Phoenix Joe. Could Seth Godin and Joe Satriani have been separated at birth?
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