In a post titled, "Which Airline Will Be The First To Offer Passengers Inflight iPads," I polled my readers two months ago as to which airline they thought would be the first to embrace the iPad as part of their inflight entertainment system. Just this month, the Australian budget airline Jetstar Airways was named the first. So now that iPads have finally taken to the friendly skies, I thought it might be interesting to see how that handy-dandy multi-purpose device is being used for other travel-related purposes.
Jetstar, a subsidiary of Qantas as the early adopter, will offer units to its passengers for US$ 10, so that they can access movie, e-Books, TV programs, games and music.
The introductory trial is scheduled for late July on selected domestic routes across Australia, and is backed by a partnership with in-flight entertainment service Bluebox Avionics and Stellar Inflight. (Interesting side note: Qantas Airlines only received one vote in the POLL I attached to my recent post. My readers thought Virgin Atlantic would have been the first airline to introduce iPads as an inflight entrainment offering).
Malaysia Airlines is another airline adapting iPads for other multi-functioning purposes. Malaysia Airlines and the air transport IT specialist, SITA have launched the world’s first self-service kiosks to sell airline tickets using the Apple iPad.
The iPads come pre-installed with the MHmobile app, which customers can set to book and pay for tickets, as well as to check-in, select the flights, make payment with a credit card and receive confirmation via SMS and email.
Customers can also use the MHkiosk to look up flight schedules, check on their flight status, choose their seats and search for deals and offers.
The new iPhone augmented reality application, MHdeals, will also be available online soon in the Apple App Store and demonstrates, for the first time, how airlines can exploit the technology commercially as a new channel for ticket sales.
iPAD vs LAPTOP
The days of lugging around your laptop or even an netbook have been basically numbered ever since the iPad appeared on the scene. Its the ideal on-the-go device for travel. At a half-inch thick, 1.5 pounds, and with a 9.7-inch LED-backlit, multi-touch screen, it's more portable than any compact computer. No need to crank it open on a cramped flight. It's easy to hold or prop up against a kick-stand to enjoy one's movies, games, books, music, TV shows--for up to 10 hours - longer than the battery life of most laptops.
iPAD TRAVEL APPS
There are a multitude of 'travel apps' for iPad to choose from, including Lonely Planet's 1,000 top destinations for $19.99, Kayak's search engine for flights (free), National Geographic World Atlas HD ($1.99), Flight Track for flight delays ($4.99) and Loopt & Loopt Pulse, a location-based social network that provides recommendations for interesting places to eat, drink and visit around the globe (free).
So, the jury is no longer out - it appears that the iPad has proven to be the ideal travel companion. Looks like it might be time to make that major carry-on investment? Your thoughts?