Qantas plans to supercharge its inflight entertainment in the coming months with new content partners bolstering the line-up of movies and TV series.
The moves come over a year since the airline was forced to 'go dark' in the early days of coronavirus, temporarily switching off inflight entertainment – along with free WiFi – as a cost-saving measure due to the high monthly license fees Qantas pays for content.
Those screens have been recently coming back to life as domestic travel returns, to the point where Qantas expects to reach over 100% of its pre-COVID domestic capacity going into the second half of this year.
"I would say most of the aircraft have been switched on by now," Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully tells Executive Traveller.
"We've put some content back on but it's only going to get better (because) we’ve done a number of partnerships and we'll soon have some exciting new things to announce."
Tully adds that inflight entertainment has been switched on "for all New Zealand flights" under the Australia-NZ travel bubble.
"It's particularly important across the Tasman because on those aircraft you don't have the WiFi."
Record WiFi usage
While international WiFi remains some years down the track for Qantas, the airline is now the only domestic carrier to offer inflight Internet – Virgin Australia's service remains offline, and Rex has yet to commit to launching WiFi.
Tully says that WiFi usage on Qantas' domestic flights has soared to all-time high levels in recent months.
"We're seeing the highest levels of WiFi usage we’ve ever had. I think what’s happened over COVID is that people have gotten so used to streaming, and now on our planes they are using their own devices for that."