timbotch
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2001 8:22 am

Alaska Airlines To Offer IFE On Trans-Cons

Wed Sep 10, 2003 12:55 am

I have been hearing that this announcement was coming for weeks. Nice to see it is a reality. The unit they are offering is fantastic! Story below.

http://www.alaskasworld.com (now with a new site redesign)
http://newsroom.alaskaair.com

Alaska to become first carrier to offer
on-demand inflight entertainment system
Posted September 9, 2003

Alaska Airlines will be the first airline in the world to offer customers a portable, handheld device that will give customers a spectrum of inflight entertainment choices, including first-run movies. This state-of-the-art APS digEplayer is unlike traditional inflight entertainment systems because it literally puts the choice of what to watch or listen to in the hands of customers.
Alaska will debut the devices in October on all transcontinental flights between Seattle and Newark/New York, Boston, Miami, Orlando, Washington National and Washington Dulles, as well as between Anchorage and Chicago. Plans to expand it to more routes are under review.

"We've wanted to offer an inflight entertainment system on our long-haul flights for some time, but the challenge has always been how to deliver multiple options without installing a costly system in every aircraft. By using this digital technology, we've conquered the challenge," said Dave Palmer, Alaska's managing director of marketing.

The digEplayer is about the size of a DVD player, but with superior audio and video quality. And because the content cannot be duplicated or replayed once its proprietary battery runs out, it’s possible to offer first-run movies not yet available on video. The system also will carry classic films, television shows, children’s programming, music and video games.

"For the first time, air travelers will have real inflight entertainment options," said Bill Boyer, CEO of APS, Inc.

The units will be available at no extra charge to all First Class passengers, and at least 32 units will be available in the main cabin for rental ($8 when reserved in advance on alaskaair.com and $10 on board). Alaska will receive a commission from each rental and a percentage of any ad sales.

Initially, a total of nine movies, three television shows and 10 hours of music will be offered.

"Offering our customers the latest high-technology inflight entertainment system in the industry is in keeping with our commitment to offer technology that makes flying more satisfying to our customers," said Gregg Saretsky, Alaska’s executive vice president of marketing and planning.

Content on the units will be provided by Twentieth Century Fox and Digital Music Express (DMX).

 
timbotch
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2001 8:22 am

RE: Alaska Airlines To Offer IFE On Trans-Cons

Wed Sep 10, 2003 12:59 am

Also, this unit was designed by a current AS employee. That in itself is pretty cool.
 
jrlander
Posts: 1025
Joined: Wed Aug 11, 1999 3:47 am

RE: Alaska Airlines To Offer IFE On Trans-Cons

Wed Sep 10, 2003 2:26 am

I have to hand it to AS, this seems like a very, very cost-effective way for AS to compete with advanced in-seat offerings from JetBlue and soon Song and Frontier. This is really thinking outside of the box.
 
dutchjet
Posts: 7714
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2000 6:13 am

RE: Alaska Airlines To Offer IFE On Trans-Cons

Wed Sep 10, 2003 2:36 am

Its a good move.........IFE is expected on transcon flights and flights of 4 or more hours in duration and now AS can fully compete. Passengers do care about things like IFE.

It sound like AS's individual IFE unit uses advanced technology.....but AS is not the first with such a concept: Air New Zealand, Thai, VASP and others have used individual video devices (VCRs,DVD players, etc, depending on the era) to compensate for airliners that do no have full blown IFE systems.....especially in the premium cabins.

 
dutchjet
Posts: 7714
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2000 6:13 am

RE: Alaska Airlines To Offer IFE On Trans-Cons

Wed Sep 10, 2003 2:37 am

Its a good move.........IFE is expected on transcon flights and flights of 4 or more hours in duration and now AS can fully compete. Passengers do care about things like IFE.

It sound like AS's individual IFE unit uses advanced technology.....but AS is not the first with such a concept: Air New Zealand, Thai, VASP and others have used individual video devices (VCRs,DVD players, etc, depending on the era) to compensate for airliners that do no have full blown IFE systems.....especially in the premium cabins.

 
EIPremier
Posts: 1462
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2000 8:17 am

RE: Alaska Airlines To Offer IFE On Trans-Cons

Wed Sep 10, 2003 4:18 am

but AS is not the first with such a concept: Air New Zealand, Thai, VASP and others have used individual video devices (VCRs,DVD players, etc, depending on the era)

Alaska has been offering DVD players in the First Class cabin since they first debuted transcon routes more than three years ago. I also recall receiving DVD players in EI business class on a trans-atlantic flight in 1998. These devices, however, weren't practical for distribution in the main cabin due to their size and required set-up.
 
IslandHopper
Posts: 309
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2003 8:28 am

RE: Alaska Airlines To Offer IFE On Trans-Cons

Wed Sep 10, 2003 5:57 am

What a great idea. Why don't the majors get their butts in gear and offer this? I bet they'll make money off it.
 
brianhames
Posts: 743
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2000 2:22 pm

RE: Alaska Airlines To Offer IFE On Trans-Cons

Wed Sep 10, 2003 6:06 am

Alaska has been offering DVD players in the First Class cabin since they first debuted transcon routes more than three years ago

Yup, thats true. I was on the SEA-IAD flight back in October of 2001, when that flight was only a month old, and they handed out the portable DVD player with a list of about seven movies to pick from. This new thing sounds like a leap forward, excellent.

Brian
 
AirVB
Posts: 266
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2003 4:21 am

RE: Alaska Airlines To Offer IFE On Trans-Cons

Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:53 am

The units will be available at no extra charge to all First Class passengers, and at least 32 units will be available in the main cabin for rental ($8 when reserved in advance on alaskaair.com and $10 on board).

I don't think that number sounds like enough, even if it will cost $8-$10 per person in Economy. Maybe AS will invest in more if the product does well.

Even though, hands down to Alaska for such an ingenious solution for their IFE needs.

AirVB  Smile
 
User avatar
EA CO AS
Posts: 13502
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2001 8:54 am

RE: Alaska Airlines To Offer IFE On Trans-Cons

Wed Sep 10, 2003 10:17 am

I don't think that number sounds like enough, even if it will cost $8-$10 per person in Economy.

AS commissioned a study several years ago when researching various IFE options, and found that on average, only 20% of the customers in the main cabin were willing to pay a surcharge to take advantage of whatever IFE option was offered.

As a result, stocking 32 units in the main cabin is based on an expected 20% usage factor on the largest equipment, the B-737-900. That same 32 units represents closer to 29% of the cabin for a -700.

Odds are that AS is getting these units for next to nothing, as the manufacturer now gets a large "captive audience" to market to each day.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group