Inflight entertainment systems are developing at a very rapid rate, with incredible changes happening now and scheduled for the future. The most booming aspect is wireless internet, phone services and general connectivity.
Last year, Panasonic announced they had partnered with Singapore Airlines to deliver a specialised companion app for passengers to pair/ link their phones/ tablets with their personal inflight entertainment systems.
The idea goes that passengers can use their app in the days before the flight to browse and select content. Once onboard, each passenger pairs the device wirelessly to their own entertainment system, and instantly their device becomes a second screen. It can be used to browse and play content, control the main entertainment system, display flight information and more. This addition will allow for a more comprehensive and intuitive inflight experience. SIA will be the first airline to introduce such highly personalised connectivity services.
Passengers travelling on the new 777-300ER aircraft in recent months may have noticed the button on the KrisWorld main menu saying “Link Your Device”. When clicking/ tapping on it, it simply displays “Companion App coming soon”. This was the first glimpse of the system being rolled out, and shows that it can easily be activated on existing 777-300ER aircraft with the new interior.
Singapore Airlines just took delivery of their first Airbus A350-900XWB, and many photos of the delivery flight were shared on Singapore Airlines social media. One image displays an iPad showing flight information just in-front of the entertainment system, hinting at the features and later introduction of the companion app. The caption states, “Raise your travel experience to a new level with the introduction of a first-of-its-kind mobile application that offers you greater control over your in-flight entertainment experience, even before boarding!”
It is interesting that the first official mention of the companion app comes through such a posts, but nonetheless, it’s going to be incredible!
All these controls will be delivered through an updates SingaporeAir app, currently available on tablets, and to be released on phones in the second quarter of this year. From general comments, it appears the system is ready to go, and will presumably be activated on the inaugural A350 familiarisation flights to Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta between March 8 and May 8, followed by Amsterdam and Dusseldorf.
Following the photos on social media, a formal press release was put out, with details here.
The Singapore Airlines A350
Singapore Airlines’ first 20 A350s are to be fitted out in a 3-class configuration, with 42 Business, 24 Premium Economy and 187 Economy seats. This ‘Long Haul’ config is intended to accompany and replace existing 777 aircraft on routes to Europe and North America.
Following this, a medium-haul configuration will be delivered with less focus on Premium seating and more Economy space. These aircraft are intended to replace existing A330s on routes within Asia and to Australia.
Finally, the third version, will be deployed. This is the famed Ultra-Long Range A350 capable of flying from Singapore – New York non-stop. These aircraft will all feature brand new cabin designs, that are yet to be revealed. Previously this route was operated by an A340-600, first with Business Class and Premium Economy, followed by an all-Business configuration. The ULR A350 will almost certainly be all Premium seating, with a small First Class cabin, very large Business Class cabin, and a small Premium Economy cabin. It is highly unlikely regular economy will be deployed on these aircraft, given the extremely long flight times up to 19 hours.
Whilst a Singapore Airlines A350 flight review is a while off, reports will soon be in on the companion app’s features on the Boeing 777-300ER. Stay tuned.