Qantas has big plans for your flight's small seatback screens

Expect new movies and TV series to enjoy on those relatively long east-west and trans-Tasman flights.

By David Flynn, April 22 2021
Qantas has big plans for your flight's small seatback screens

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."

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Great to see the entertainment back this week. I’d REALLY love to see more Aussie content or at least some more European / British. I tend to stream now on wifi as it’s all a bit too American for me since the content deal with Foxtel. The wifi is generally pretty adequate for streaming so well done Qantas. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 229

Do the QF B737's have seat back video screens?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 192

Some

22 Jul 2020

Total posts 3

"Selected B737-800 aircraft have full seatback screens for each passenger..."

These things are alluded to in the booking process, but nothing is final until you board your plane.

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 128

Not all of them. Quite a bit of them, are wifi only and require the entertainment app to watch movies and tv shows 

Some do and some don’t 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 192

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."

Ermmm neither do the A330-300s which have been plowing east-west flights, didnt activate the IFE on those.....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 May 2013

Total posts 57

Just came back from Perth last Saturday. IFE was not activated on the flight over or the flight back (actually no screen on the back of the seat, just the holder for your own device - wi-fi was switched on for this flight).

Not all domestic A330s have WiFi but many of them do, Qantas was partway through the installation when COVID hit, I think most of them were done?

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 125

When was the IFE turned back on? It was fully off when I flew SYD-PER the other week. 

Its annoying how QF advertises how good things are now, 100%+ capacity and "the spirit is back" TV ads, yet theres no IFE and the lounge food is a sandwich or two.

JD1
JD1

03 Aug 2020

Total posts 5

Entertainment was on my flight yesterday to Melbourne and again this morning on my return

23 Apr 2021

Total posts 1

Any ideas when we will see the full in-flight service return? (i.e. wine and beer on after 4 flights)??

05 Feb 2020

Total posts 28

Ha, I regularly flew long haul on A380s and the entertainment screens were a joke. The movies were current and fine but the touchscreens wouldent work half the time and you could feel the person behind hitting the screen as they had the same problem. Then when the person in front lays back their chair your screen ends up 10 inches from your face and its barely watchable. Who cares about new content when the delivery is crap. 

22 Sep 2017

Total posts 48

I hope this doesn’t lead to enforced closing of the window shades even on domestic and NZ hops. It plays havoc with the circadian rhythm.  And the old-fashioned IFE of looking out the window can also be nice sometimes.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 398

@pLandemic is anyone forcing you to fly qantas? If you are so dead against it, don't fly with them, plenty of others would take your place without hesitation. I wonder if you go into a shop when the sign says "its a condition of entering this store that you must open your bags ..."

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 349

Good initiative but when you’ve flown on SQ and see the incredible amount of content Krisworld provides (or CX or EK), they are just so international it leaves you speechless. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2017

Total posts 80

Totally agree SQ and EK have phenomenal screen content compared to QF.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jun 2013

Total posts 41

Can tell the wifi is being hammered these days. Four flights in the last month and it’s nowhere near as fast as it used to be and there is a lot time spent buffering.

Great news about the IFE supplier updates. I miss the days of channel 9 providing the news. Partnering with Sky was a mistake.


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