Flying High With the iPad
The Airline Industry Goes iPad-Crazy
If you are thinking about whether you should sell your iPad and get another tablet PC, you should think
twice. Consider the fact that this device is so versatile that it can be used for simple personal games as
well as more complex tasks involved in flying. Starting last year, Alaska Airlines and United Continental
purchased and issued iPads to their pilots to replace paper manuals and charts. American Airlines also
secured approval from the US FAA as well to use the tablet to display digital manuals and charts for all
phases of the flight, starting from takeoff to landing.
This is made possible through apps created specifically for pilot use by Jeppeson, a subsidiary of Boeing.
Another app developed by Australian carrier, Qantas can provide pilots with up to date flight data and
other relevant information. There’s no reason for you now to sell iPad because many airlines are also
making these apps available for their customers so they can be updated with information such as flight
times and luggage restrictions.
Aside from the obvious benefit of saving tons of paper (and trees), in the case of the airline industry, this
move has eliminated a significant amount of weight during the flight. This in turn directly translates to
increasing an airline’s savings in fuel consumption. Hopefully, this move will trickle down to the airline
passengers in terms of lower ticket prices or fewer surcharges.
Aside from pilots, cabin crews and managers are also being equipped with iPads. For example, British
Airways has issued iPads to their cabin crew. These tablets are loaded with data relevant to their jobs
such as cabin information and a passenger manifest. Theoretically, this will make their job faster and
However, this does not guarantee a better customer service experience for passengers. Even when the
pilots and cabin crew have the best and latest gadgets, it is still their attitudes that make passengers feel
that they had a wonderful flight experience. But then, if customer service means passengers being
provided with an iPad for all flights, then who are we to complain? Qantas, already mentioned earlier as
providing its crew with iPads, has also provided all passengers on their flights using the 767 aircraft iPads
as well. The iPads are safely tucked in the pockets of every seat. So, there’s no need for passengers to
pull out their own personal iPads and put it on ‘flight mode’ to be entertained. They can just enjoy the
device the airline provides.
Aside from giving passengers entertainment options, the iPad can also mean a reduction in weight, as
traditional screens used for passenger entertainment and other devices can definitely weigh more than
iPads. Speaking of making planes lighter, that’s what Scoot Pte. experienced first-hand. This airline, the
low cost carrier of Singapore Airlines, decided to substitute the iPad for all its in-flight entertainment
options. Howe much weight was saved because of this effort? Two tons!
Even in the airline industry, it seems that the domination of the iPad is inevitable. If you don’t care that
much about the airline industry though, then you might as well go sell your old and used iPad.