In 1992, Emirates took the bold step of installing television screens in all seats of all cabin classes in its fleet, a groundbreaking move that shaped traveler expectations and the in-flight entertainment industry in the decades to come.
The move has changed travel habits, with mothers ditching other airlines for Emirates so their children can be entertained on long flights.
Emirates hasn’t looked back since, constantly introducing new innovations that have advanced entertainment and connectivity to 40,000 feet. Large, ultra-high definition 4k screens, with faster and improved Wi-Fi connectivity, are among the exciting developments Emirates has planned for its next-generation IFE systems that will ship with its future fleet on order, as the airline continues to improve its in-flight offer.
Emirates is also constantly updating its vast library of on-ice content, with over 100 movies and 200 TV episodes added every month.
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Patrick Brannelly, Senior Vice President Retail, IFE & Connectivity at Emirates said: “When Emirates introduced personal screens on every seatback in 1992, it was seen as a massive industry innovation. Other airlines questioned the meaning of this huge investment, estimated at around US$15,000 per seat at the time.
“But we quickly realized that our customers liked to be entertained throughout the flight. This shortened their trips and promoted customer satisfaction and loyalty. Within a year, we were working to expand the content choice to 20 channels on the Emirates Boeing 777s that were to join our fleet in 1995.
“We never stopped improving our product. Emirates is constantly adding the best content from over 40 regions around the world to ice, our IFE system, and ensuring that incredible content is delivered to the largest personal screens in the industry and through quality headphones and audio systems. Emirates is also a leader in in-flight connectivity, from the introduction of satellite phones in 1993 to becoming the first to install systems enabling mobile phones to be used on aircraft. Today, every Emirates aircraft is connected – and we have already placed orders for the next generation of connectivity. »
Here is the timeline of improvements.
Emirates’ award-winning Ice inflight entertainment system, originally launched in 2003 with 500 channels, today offers each passenger more than 5,000 channels of movies, music, TV shows, box sets and of documentaries on demand, in more than 40 languages.
Total accumulated hours of entertainment include over 3,900 hours of movies and TV and over 3,300 hours of music and podcasts. An Emirates passenger would have to fly over 500 times from Dubai to Sydney in order to consume the entire library.
The success of Emirates’ IFE investments and strategy is demonstrated by the loyalty and positive feedback of its customers across all cabin classes, as well as numerous industry awards, including “Best In-Flight Entertainment at APEX Passenger Choice Awards® 2022”, AirlineRatings.com Best IFE each year since 2013 and ‘Skytrax World’s Best Inflight Entertainment’ each year since 2005.
As well as entertainment, Emirates ice offers a range of other convenient features, including the ability to check your flight status en route; a real-time view of the sky during take-off and landing thanks to cameras fixed to the nose, tail and belly of the aircraft; a useful travel guide to the Emirates hub in Dubai; EmiratesRED; the world’s first in-flight teleshopping channel; and a range of personal development content, including LinkedIn Learning.