Qatar Airways Launches Completely Touch Free IFE System

Soon, passengers on Qatar Airways’ Airbus A350s will be able to access the in-flight entertainment system without ever touching the screen. By scanning a QR-code, they will be able to control the system via their personal electronic devices. Qatar Airways says this is to limit touch-points on board the aircraft and provide greater peace of mind throughout the journey.

Qatar A350
Passengers will soon be able to use Qatar’s A350 IFE system with Zero Touch technology. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Zero-Touch the way of the future?

The application of contactless technology has made a big leap over the past year, and for very good reasons. In the latest bid to eliminate as many contact surfaces as possible during the travel experience – and perhaps gain the trust of an anxious traveler or two – Qatar Airways is launching an entirely touch-free version of its award-winning Oryx One in-flight entertainment system. 

Passengers traveling on board the Gulf carrier’s Airbus A350s will soon be able to use their own personal devices to scan a QR-code from the IFE screen. This will allow them to control the system from their own phone or tablet, further reducing mutual touch-points between travelers.

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Furthermore, there will be the option to pair personal Bluetooth headphones with the seatback IFE system in all cabins on the carrier’s Boeing 787-9 fleet.

“The introduction of the state-of-the-art Zero-Touch technology, and enabling passengers to use their personal Bluetooth headset on board is an important step in taking our already rigorous and stringent COVID-19 precautions to another level, limiting passenger surface contact and preventing any possible spread of infection on board,” Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a statement seen by Simple Flying.

Qatar QR-code IFE
Passengers will be able to control the IFE from their personal devices by scanning a QR-code. Photo: Qatar Airways

Increased confidence in safety and experience

The new feature, which Qatar says it is the first global airline to implement, is also part of a drive to reinspire customer confidence in air travel. While restrictions may still make it difficult to hop around the planet, trust is certain to be one of the major factors for airline recovery in the years to come.

“We hope it provides yet further assurance of the safety of air travel, as well as offering passengers on board increased confidence that they are enjoying the most consistently advanced customer experience available in the sky,” Mr Baker continued.

Qatar Airways 787-8
Qatar Airways is also upgrading the IFE on its Boeing 787-8 fleet. Photo: Getty Images

Upgrades to the 787-8 also on the way

The Zero-Touch technology is introduced in partnership with the Thales AVANT IFE system. The airline has also enlisted the French aerospace group to upgrade the IFE on its Boeing 787-8 fleet. In order to keep fleet disruptions to a minimum, Thales has conceived of an upgrade program to incorporate its latest generation IFE into the existing infrastructure.

Will the potential for fewer touch-points matter to you when you choose which airline to travel with next? Tell us why or why not in the comments.