The truth behind the iPod's 5 1/2 mile high club

The truth behind the iPod's 5 1/2 mile high club

Summary: On Tuesday Apple announced that it had struck deals with six airline companies who would offer passengers the ability to hook up their iPods to the in-flight entertainment systems. If you were planning on buying an iPod based on this, hold onto your credit card just yet.

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TOPICS: Apple
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On Tuesday Apple announced that it had struck deals with six airline companies who would offer passengers the ability to hook up their iPods to the in-flight entertainment systems.  If you were planning on buying an iPod based on this, hold onto your credit card just yet.

Apple had announced that Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM and United would offer iPod seat connections which would power and charge the iPod during flight and allow video content to be viewed on seat-back displays. 

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Here's a quote from Greg Joswiak, vice president of worldwide iPod product marketing at Apple:

"There is no better traveling companion than an iPod, and travelers can now power their iPods during flight and watch their iPod movies and TV shows on their seat-back displays."

However, Air France and KLM are now denying that any deal with Apple has taken place.  Air France went as far an issuing the following press release:

"Air France [denies] the announcement that a specific connection system to the digital iPod will shortly be installed on Air France planes. Apple is a partner of Air France, but it is far too early to talk about a project such as this."

Apple put the incident down to "miscommunication" - interesting indeed given the proximity of this announcement to Microsoft's launch date for the Zune.

The good news for iPod owners is that the the deal is still on with Continental, Delta, Emirates and United.  However, don't get too excited.  First off, very few domestic flights have seat-back displays, so don't expect to see iPod connectors there.

On top of that, Delta only plans on offering the service to passengers on flights within the US that take more than four hours while United will only offer iPod connectors in Business and First class on international flights.  Continental will fit the iPod connector to coach/economy seats, but plans on limiting them to about 40 airplanes that mainly serve international destinations.

So, if you're planning on making the iPod your traveling companion, make sure you choose your destinations carefully.

Topic: Apple

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8 comments
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  • I'm not surprised

    "while United will only offer iPod connectors in Business and First class on international flights."

    The difference between coach and the uppity classes largely comes down to comfort and convenience. You get a little more room, and the food is better. But were only talking about a matter of hours flying time. They have typically charged THOUSANDS more for first class over coach. I'm not surprised that they would only include this option in more expensive seats, they really need more of a seperation in ammenities to justify the disparity in costs.


    -Jealous coach flyer
    Tigertank
  • Airlines are stupid

    Is it any wonder that nearly every airline out there is either losing money or going bankrupt? Why bother offering positive things to your customers when you can treat them like cattle? Forget the iPod, I'd settle for a power outlet at every seat. It's like the cel phone on the airplane thing--come up with something that customers want, then try to charge them an outrageous fee to use it. Who wants to bet the airlines will have proprietary cables to hook up your iPod to your seat, and they'll rent them to you for $20?
    tic swayback
    • Good point Tic

      Personally, it sounds gimmicky to me. I agree, a power outlet would make more sense.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • Non-proprietary

        I like the idea of such things being non-proprietary. As a long time Mac user who understands what it means to be shut out of activities because of your technology choice, I wouldn't inflict that on others. So having iPod-only docking setups on planes seems unfair to me.
        tic swayback
        • How robust is an iPod socket?

          You're talking to a non-iPod owner here - how robust does the socket seem to you (I can barely remember what it looks like!)? Does it seem robust enough to handle this kind in-flight activity? From long (and sometimes sad) experience with iPAQ connectors I can say that they are rubbish and I wouldn't like to chance a connector that someone else had roughed about.
          Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
          • I haven't really torture tested them

            Mine seems pretty robust, 2 plus years of sliding it in and out of a dock in my car several times every single day and no issues to report.
            tic swayback
          • Sound a lot more robust that the iPAQ socket

            Torture testing one of those is just called breaking it.
            Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
          • Mag-safe would be a great solution

            Thinking about it, the new magnetic connectors Apple uses for powering laptops would be a wonderful solution for situations like this. No internal pins to break off.
            tic swayback