Cathay Pacific plans inflight entertainment revamp

Coming soon: a Netflix-style interface and greater personalisation.

By David Flynn, August 2 2023
Cathay Pacific plans inflight entertainment revamp
Executive Traveller exclusive

Big changes are coming to the small screen in front of each Cathay Pacific passenger, including a streamlined user interface which will make it easier to discover content.

It’s not as if there’s a shortage of movies, boxed sets and much more in the Cathay library – if anything, that content cornucopia is the challenge, at least for the current inflight entertainment (IFE) interface.

“We have the most Asian content, I think, in the world, and then Hollywood special collections and HBO Max,” says Vivian Lo, Cathay’s General Manager for Customer Experience & Design.

“So now we are working on a navigation system that will showcase that amazing content.”

The current interface “was designed a time we didn't have that much content,” Lo tells Executive Traveller, and today’s bulging digital library “is too much for this navigation (system).”

“You can look forward to looking at something that is much more like Netflix,” Lo says, including broader category-based browsing.

This will be followed by “much more capabilities in terms of personalisation.”

Cathay Pacific's current IFE interface is set for a streamlined swipe-friendly overhaul.
Cathay Pacific's current IFE interface is set for a streamlined swipe-friendly overhaul.

The end goal is for travellers to sign into the IFE system with their Cathay membership details, which across multiple flights could prompt the passenger to continue beginning on a previously-viewed boxed set or suggest similar content, with the option to use the Cathay app to create a ‘watchlist’ ahead of their flight and sync that to their seat’s IFE screen.

“These are some examples of what we are looking at,” Lo tells Executive Traveller. “I think it is very powerful because it allows customers to start planning and engaging on their journey…. (and) you get excited, right?”

“You start to think about what movies you want to watch, and you can plan that accordingly. You can also plan what meals you want to have and book your meal in advance.”

“So I think there’s a lot more potential on how we can enrich the in-flight experience and allow customers to start planning their journey early and be excited early.”

“What I see in the future is that the IFE system is no longer just a screen to watch movies, but an ecosystem for you to better control your cabin experience… I think it’s going to be more and more interesting and more and more important to customers, especially frequent flyers.”

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