web Musings of The Global Traveller

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

AVOD systems

For those who don't memorise acronyms, AVOD stands for Audio Video On Demand. These are the inflight entertainment systems that let you play programs when you are ready not when they switch the system on, and pause, rewind and fast forward as needed (great for meal breaks or to use the bathroom without missing the best bit of that movie).

Gradually more and more airlines are bringing these systems in, and nowadays this includes economy cabin as well as first and business classes. The best systems have many hundreds of viewing options. The AVOD systems on some airlines have had teething problems, sometimes lasting years after implementation. For example Air New Zealand's system is slow to respond, and Qantas' system was for a while known as AVOiD by some frequent travellers for the very high frequency of breakdowns - some passengers would hope to get an aircraft that did not have AVOD fitted!

Here are just a few of the airlines I have flown lately that have AVOD systems on some (or all) longhaul aircraft:

  • Air New Zealand

  • British Airways

  • Cathay Pacific

  • Emirates

  • Japan Airlines

  • LAN

  • Lufthansa

  • Qantas

  • Singapore Airlines

  • Thai

While most of these systems are great, some better than others in terms of variety and quality of programming, some are not so good in my experience.

On a recent British Airways (BA) flight the AVOD failed completely for the whole flight in my seat and many other passengers. The poor CSD spent a lot of time apologising to passengers for the failing, but was unable to offer any assistance/alternatives on the spot. Other airlines attempt to make it up on the spot - eg Singapore Airlines offers cash or vouchers onboard long haul flights. Some weeks after the flight I haven't even had an apology from BA. What made the flight worse was the overhead cabin lights were switched off for most of the flight and due to poor design the new Club World in-seat light was insufficient for reading, so I had a long flight sitting in the dark.

My top 3 AVOD choices are Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand. They all have lots and lots of options - so even the most frequent flyers have something new to look at, listen to or play. They also are, in my experience, fairly reliable systems.

Picture from Air New Zealand

No comments: