Air India plans to provide iPad Pro for IFE onboard!

Air India frequently faces problems on their planes concerning the IFE. On a short-haul route, seat back devices have been completely removed, and fake IFE has been installed.

However, on long-haul routes, it becomes more of a problem. I have been on many flights on the Air India IFE on 777s where the feed was grainy or did not work altogether. Unfortunately, this has not been fixed for the longest time.

However, Air India is finding a quick-fix to this solution, or at least trying. They recently invited bids for iPads to replace defective video screens on some of their planes. The tender is for new tablets for 18 aircraft in Air India’s fleet and is for the period of one year. It seems these will be for Air India’s Boeing 777 planes, given the airline has 18 of these aircraft.

The bid-asked to lease new iPad Pros for a period of 1 year, and wanted the provider to be using the current IFE content for service recovery on board their aircraft. The airline intends to use these as a backup for the business and first class passengers in case their IFE screens do not work.

To be fair to the people who will bid, I think this will be a dud bid. Any other airline I have noticed usually calls for Samsung tablets given their cheaper cost, and ability to work with the Android software better. In the case of Air India, they want i-PADs, which is certainly not a brand of tablets. The bidder will have to provide a set of high-quality compatible headsets, customized case cum stand and a replaceable battery with each iPad. It will also have to provide docking stations for charging these iPads at Air India premises in Delhi & Mumbai.

Air India IFE on iPad Pros

By DearEdward from New York, NY, USA (Qantas iPad IFE) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Now, the only trouble there is iPads do not have replaceable batteries. We had come a long way from the Nokia age where we could just swap out batteries when they did not work, and Apple never had a mobile product where the battery would be accessible outside.

To add insult to the injury, the airline wants a custom interface to operate the same content as loaded on their other IFE platform on the plane. However, when I looked around, everyone in the market seemed to be interested in providing content licensing along with the platform.

Bottomline

Well-intentioned but poorly done. I have always maintained that Air India is let down by the people on the ground, and this is one more instance. With half-baked recommendations like these, we really can’t wonder how the IFE bidding process would have gone, or how quickly will we see those iPads/tablets on the planes.
What do you think about the new move from Air India for iPads? Will these last long or be flicked in no time?

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