The rise of ‘bring your own device’ has already transformed many of the ways that large businesses work internally, and now it is shifting consumer-facing solutions too, with easyJet announcing the launch of a dedicated streaming service available only on its planes.
Given the airline’s focus on short-haul flights, easyJet has largely avoiding investing in expensive seatback screens for passenger entertainment and information. However, the company has now announced it is partnering with Japanese digital giant Rakuten and in-flight entertainment specialists Immfly to provide a streaming entertainment service called Air Time.
Passengers simply have to connect their smartphone or tablet with the plane’s wi-fi network and bring up an in-browser portal to access TV programmes, films and audiobooks for adults and children. Air Time is built on Rakuten TV, an existing platform formerly known as Wuaki.tv, and in addition to streaming entertainment, it will also offer games, flight information, destination guides and even language lessons.
“Air Time will allow us for the first time to offer customers in-flight entertainment in a way which replicates how they consumer their media at home,” said Andrew Middleton, director of ancillary revenue at easyJet. “We are delighted to be collaborating with other innovative partners, such as Rakuten who will help us curate engaging content, and Immfly, who are providing the unique easyJet portal with a dedicated customer support team, ensuring that easyJet crew are able to continue conducting an excellent standard of safety-focused service and on-board hospitality.”
The service is initially being offered on only five planes in the easyJet fleet, but the airline has plans to expand it across every plane if it proves popular. The company isn’t the first travel brand to announce a streaming service for passengers – last year, Virgin trains debuted Beam, an app-powered entertainment service for passengers on limited routes that provided roughly 200 hours of TV and film content for free.