The inflight experience onboard European low-cost carrier, easyJet, has traditionally been low tech, with no inflight entertainment (IFE) save for a magazine and menu in the seatback. However, the airline has been working with AirFi, a technology company, to introduce a digital onboard experience.
Starting 4th October, easyJet is trialling AirFi’s portable inflight entertainment (IFE) streaming system, the AirFi box, which will allow passengers to connect to and browse the onboard shop during flights, along with all passenger-facing aspects of the user experience onboard, including flight and safety information, destination content, inflight magazine content and a selection of games – all free of charge.
The Airfi box is a compact unit that can be placed in an overhead locker and is powered by battery or aircraft power. The box connects to a LEO antenna, roughly the size of a pen, which is fitted inside one window on each side of the aircraft (the installation is a minor modification), and the system is then ready to provide wi-fi within the cabin.
Customers flying onboard any of the airline’s Swiss fleet of 27 A320 family aircraft flying from Geneva and Basel will be the first to try out the easyJet digital experience, being able to connect their own laptops, tablets, or wi-fi-enabled smartphones to a local cabin wi-fi network created by the AirFi boxes onboard, to access the content.
Job Heimerikx, CEO of AirFi, said of the partnership, “The team at easyJet has challenged us to bring forward best-in-class solutions, innovative business models and to explore a fully customised solution that will further enhance the inflight experience for its customers. This opportunity has helped us to grow in many ways and we look forward to a very fruitful partnership.”
easyJet’s director of inflight retail, Simon Cox, added, “We are confident they [AirFi] are the right partners to support us in realising our ambitions to deliver an industry-leading, digital onboard experience for our customers across Europe.”