TV on Planes – More Airlines Offer More Electronic Options

Plane rides need not be dull. Seatmates can play spirited games of who gets the armrest while others can enjoy the entertaining antics of drunken passengers that are too often on display. But some need more. Enter the Era of Electronic Entertainment – and here’s the latest from the airlines.

Ban on electronics during take-off may be lifted

Hawaiian Rents iPad Minis

Starting Sept. 1, Hawaiian Airlines will pass out iPad minis on 14 of its model 767 planes. If you’re seated in business class, you’re all set. If in coach, you pay $15 online (or $17 on the plane) and along with the rental fee comes free TV and movies.

This is available on flights between Honolulu and Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Seattle and Phoenix plus a bunch of destinations in Asia, Australia and beyond.

Potential problem: Collecting all these devices when the flight’s over. We heard of one instance an international carrier where deplaning was held up until all the electronics were accounted for.

How wired is your airline?

Southwest’s Free TV

This has been in place since July, and it seems to be pretty popular. Here’s the deal: you bring your own electronic device and the airline will supply you with free live TV and on-demand shows.

Potential problem: What if the batteries in your device conk out? It’s by no means clear if all (or any) planes offering this option have outlets for recharging.

Other Entertainment Options

Virgin America and JetBlue have been offering free entertainment via backseat screens for years now which means you don’t have to hold anything to watch. You don’t even have to listen, said one JetBlue aficionado who told us she just sets the channel to Animal Planet and glances up every now and then to enjoy soothing images of puppies.

Or you could read a book.

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Published: August 30, 2013