The few readers who have travelled with me know I am easily kept amused while travelling, especially in good company. There is always plenty to watch out the window (perhaps not at night flying over oceans), papers to catch up on, books and magazines to read. On some trips I end up lugging a book with me for a couple of weeks without reading any of it.
That said, I do appreciate good inflight entertainment (IFE). It is easier on the eyes than reading if sleepy, easier to do while eating and drinking, and a way to sample movies & shows from around the world that may never have seen otherwise. With many hundreds of flights on smaller aircraft with no IFE I appreciate it all the more when flying aircraft that do have good inflight entertainment.
The best IFE I have experienced are on Emirates and Air New Zealand. They are AVOD (audio video on demand) systems, have hundreds of options and don't seem to break down. They can also be used gate to gate, from the moment you board (except during safety briefing of course) until touchdown. The new system on Qantas A380 is also quite good, but still suffers in comparison due to the long wait to get started and lengthy commercial shown which you cannot bypass.
Recently I have had a run of problems with IFE. In the past two weeks I've had the following experiences with the inflight entertainment (as well as other flights with no IFE or IFE that worked fine):
- DVD players not handed out
- DVD player broken, replacement DVD player battery ran out
- DVD player battery out when handed to me
- no sound for almost all passengers including me
- AVOD system rebooted itself repeatedly and reset every time touched the control (eg to adjust volume or pause)
What do others look for in an inflight entertainment system?