IFE Under Consideration By easyJet But Don’t Expect It Any Time Soon

easyJet is considering offering passengers In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) on its flights. While this does seem like an interesting proposition, it will likely be a while before it comes to fruition. So what is easyJet’s plan? Let’s find out.

easyJet A320
Could easyJet become one of the first low-cost carriers to offer IFE? Photo: easyJet

Successful trials

It should be noted that easyJet does not plan to install in-seat entertainment on its fleet of aircraft. Instead, passengers will be able to stream content directly to their devices via an inflight network. This method of delivering content has become increasingly common in the industry, with more airlines opting to offer streamed content rather than install entertainment devices on board.

EasyJet trialed the use of IFE on select flights to much success. Photo: easyJet

easyJet trialed the use of IFE in late 2018, deploying the service on select flights. After a few months in use, the airline reported that it saw 22% higher passenger satisfaction levels with the inclusion of IFE. This level of success has pushed the airline to consider rolling out the service to its entire fleet.

Plans for deployment shelved

While easyJet did see successful results with the use of IFE, the current state of the aviation industry has put any spending on indefinite hold. In a Future Travel Experience webinar, easyJet Commercial Director Andrew Middleton said,

[We have] continued to review it. I think the context now with COVID obviously means that CapEx (capital expenditure) is under increased scrutiny, so I think if we were to go a route of a major project, then clearly would be wanting to work with partners that were putting forward really compelling and strong business cases to support that.”

WIth the coronavirus grounding most of the airline’s fleet and causing severe financial damage, it would make sense that the airline does not want to commit to any short-term expenditure. The airline is set to resume flights later this month, hoping to expand operations to three-quarters of its destinations by August.

Is there a future for IFE?

Airlines are in a cost-cutting mode right now, slashing fleet size and jobs in a bid to survive. easyJet is no exception to this trend, as the airline looks to even defer aircraft deliveries in the midst of this downturn. However, things can change quickly in the airline industry.

While easyJet has so far not committed to deploying IFE on its huge fleet, the airline will continue to consider it. The airline originally tied up with Immfly, an inflight services provider, to offer entertainment options.

Delta IFE screens
IFE has come a long way from seatback entertainment, becoming much more cost-effective. Photo: Delta News Hub via Flickr

Inflight entertainment has come a long way from the TV screens behind the seat. The prevalence of personal devices has made it economically possible for even low-cost carriers to provide direct entertainment. It should be noted that many low-cost carriers around the world have so far avoided installing IFE, seeing little need to add millions in cost. However, if easyJet decides to buck this trend in the coming years, we could see others do the same.

What do you think about IFE on easyJet flights? Would it make a difference to your flight experience? Let us know in the comments below.