Seattle start-up Skycast Solutions has customized Samsung’s 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab so it can be used for in-flight entertainment by budget Canadian airline, WestJet.
The Galaxy Tab, branded the TrayVu Slim by Skycast, runs a customized version of Android, is combined with Skycast’s custom content-management software, and can be rented to passengers for watching the latest movies, and TV programs. The slate is also fastened onto the back of the seat in front of the passenger, using a proprietary clip, thereby freeing up the flip-out tray table.
Skycast’s chief marketing officer Greg Latimer recently told Seattle Times that the initial contract is for the firm to provide 68 tablets per plane on four of WestJet’s fleet, but reckons that as many as 85-90% of passengers will bring their own iPad, Kindle or some other portable electronic device aboard longer flights in future. Despite this, Latimer is confident that Skycast’s access to movie content will convince passengers to rent the on-board tablets.
Skycast has not yet settled on a rental fee for the tablet, but says that it will be in the region of $10 to $15 per transcontinental trip. The in-flight entertainment tablets are due to be deployed to WestJet's two new Boeing 737 planes from June, with the tablets coming to another two WestJet models by the end of the year.
Of course, this is not the first time tablets have been employed for in-flight entertainment, with big airlines like American Airlines active in deploying Android slates for watching TV programs and movies. Tablets are also being used by aircraft pilots and cabin crew members to aid with everything from taking off to carrying out passenger checks, while Etihad Airways recently confirmed that it using the iPad to train aircraft engineers.