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The Pros and Cons of a BYOD In-Flight Entertainment System

In-flight entertainment is a necessity for many travellers. In an age where most customers have their own devices, is a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy a good way to stay at the cutting edge for the benefit of both your airline and your customers?

Any big change to a business is going to raise questions about cost. In the case of travellers bringing and using their own personal devices to access in-flight entertainment, it can seem like a blessing and a curse to the airline. For one thing, many BYOD entertainment services require that the cabin has WiFi access. If this is not something that already exists within the fleet, it can seem like a large investment.

Depending on the size of your company, however, these costs could be completely dwarfed by the savings made by not having to purchase, install and maintain screens on board, in which case a BYOD policy could be a very cost-effective change. Those savings could even be invested back into expanding the library of content offered on the system. As many airlines switch to BYOD systems, it's becoming clearer which pricing systems work best to help take the pressure off of the company.

Convenience is another factor in considering a BYOD policy. Passengers are already comfortable and familiar with their own devices, which means they may take fuller advantage of the in-flight offerings than they would have with seatback screens. Not only will it allow them to use the services that are already included with their flight, but may also encourage them to browse premium offerings or shopping opportunities available during their travel.

Of course, nothing is perfect. Monitoring device usage becomes more difficult with a BYOD policy, and while regulations are always evolving, persistent device use on the plane can make things frustrating for the cabin crew.

The content and information that passengers would normally access through more conventional in-flight entertainment devices may need to be updated to ensure that they work fully on the wide range of browsers and operating systems that will be using them or you may find passengers having trouble accessing services. This too can lead to more work for the cabin crew.

These considerations are not new, however, and many companies have reviewed and addressed them and gone on to implement successful beneficial BYOD policies on their flights. BYOD entertainment providers can also answer questions about what works and how effective this system can be. The added flexibility, potential cost benefit, and reduced pressure on the business to maintain a large number of devices can often mean passengers and cabin crew are happier and more comfortable during their journey.