Ever since discount airlines such as Jetstar and Virgin Blue began charging customers an additional fee for in-flight entertainment, I've always just brought along a laptop or a book to pass the time while I am in the air.
When I bought an iPad just before my trip to Japan, it became my own personal entertainment unit on the long flight to Tokyo. I loaded my iPad with a week's worth of episodes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report from the iTunes store plus a few films and I was good to go.
While some complain that the size of the iPad is too big for Jetstar's seats, it was definitely preferable to the unwieldy tablet device Jetstar rented to the passenger seated next to me to watch Eat, Pray, Love.
Given I wasn't the only one to bring their iPad on that flight, I wasn't terribly surprised by the news that Jetstar is bringing out its own modified iPads with preloaded content, and I'm sure a lot of people will jump at the chance to use one. But I'll stick to my own for now. Here's why:
The cost: sure an iPad might be an expensive upfront purchase, but the use you'll get out of it is much more worthwhile than forking out cash every time you fly with Jetstar.
The content: I love a classic episode of Keeping Up Appearances as much as the next person, but I much prefer being able to pick my own content. The only thing that airline entertainment really had going for it was that you could sometimes see new films in that brief period between their cinema release and their debut on DVD. In this trial, it doesn't seem to be an option, so I think I'll stick to picking what I can watch, thanks.
The apps: while Apple's iOS is a very locked down system, Jetstar seems to be taking locked down to a whole new level. In a similar vein as content, I want to be able to jump between books, films, TV shows, games, Instapaper and Flight Control, all without restriction.
I'm sure the Jetstar iPads will be perfect for a lot of casual travellers or parents who need to keep their kids quiet on those long flights, but for the more frequent traveller, owning your own iPad (or Android tablet device if that's your flavour) is the only option.