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Jetstar may be running behind schedule for the debut of an iPad-based in-flight entertainment system but the airline is still set to be the world’s first to rent out tablets to passengers.
“We’re looking at roll-out in the next couple of months” a Jetstar spokeswoman told Australian Business Traveller, despite media reports citing unnamed Jetstar sources saying they would be introduced in just weeks.
Each iPad will come preloaded with music, TV shows and music videos, games, ebooks and magazines, accessible through a custom-built Jetstar app.
Using the iPad as a 'personal in-flight entertainment system’ provides airlines with a highly cost-efficient alternative to installing conventional in-seat video screens wired up to a ‘content server’.
The rental cost to passengers has yet to be set, and while $10 per flight was originally pegged nobody would be surprised to see that price closer to the $20 mark, especially on long flights.
According to previous reports the iPads will be fitted with a custom case containing a second battery so they can run for over 20 hours between recharges, while the case also contains an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip to help prevent the iPad being stolen by light-fingered passengers.
Jetstar first trialled the iPad in June 2010, with 30 of the touchscreen tablets used for two weeks on domestic flights where the flight time exceeded one hour.
Jetstar originally intended to launch its in-flight iPad program before Christmas 2010, a date which shifted to “early 2011” and then early April.