Scroll Top

In-flight entertainment varieties


In-flight entertainment refers to the entertainment available to aircraft passengers during a flight. In 1936, the airship Hindenburg offered passengers a piano, lounge, dining room, smoking room, and bar during the 60 hours flight between Europe and America.

After World War II, In-flight entertainment was delivered in the form of food and drink services, along with an occasional projector movie during lengthy flights. In 1985 the first personal audio player was offered to passengers, along with noise-canceling headphones in 1989.

During the 1990s, the demand for better In-flight entertainment was a major factor in the design of aircraft cabins.

Before then, the most a passenger could expect was a movie projected on a screen at the front of a cabin, which could be heard via a headphone socket at his or her seat. Now, in most aircraft, private In-flight entertainment TV screens are offered.

The in-flight entertainment onboard airlines are frequently managed by content service providers.

Various types of in-flight entertainment are available on many aircraft. It announces a seatback entertainment system, with more content and new features for customers to enjoy onboard.

You can access real-time information specific to your flight – whether you want to track your flight progress, check the weather for your destination, or plan things to do on your trip.

You’ll find real-time data tracking your flight, a flight map, and agenda for onboard service. In the arrival guide, you’ll find the weather, attractions, and other information about your destination.

In-flight games

Video games are another emerging facet of in-flight entertainment. Some game systems are networked to allow interactive playing by multiple passengers.

Later generations of in-flight entertainment games began to shift focus from pure entertainment to learning. The best examples of this changing trend are the popular trivia game series and the Berlitz Word Traveler which allows passengers to learn a new language in their own language.

Appearing as a mixture of lessons and mini-games, passengers can learn the basics of a new language while being entertained.

Personal device entertainment

Personal on-demand videos are stored in an aircraft’s main in-flight entertainment system, whence they can be viewed on-demand by a passenger over the aircraft’s built-in media server and wireless broadcast system.

Along with the on-demand concept comes the ability for the user to pause, rewind, fast forward, or jump to any point in the movie. There are also movies that are shown throughout the aircraft at one time, often on shared overhead screens or a screen in the front of the cabin.

More modern aircraft are now allowing Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) to be used to connect to the onboard in-flight entertainment systems.

Private Screening

Screening options let you view the latest hits, trending TV shows, and more through a seatback monitor or your own personal device, depending on the aircraft.

Complimentary earbuds are available on aircraft

We recommend bringing your own headphones for your flight, but if you forget them, you can enjoy in-flight entertainment with complimentary earbuds, available by request on select flights.

Personal device entertainment

Airlines offer more free entertainment streamed to your own personal device.


DIRECTV is available free of charge on many domestic flights.

In-flight connectivity

In recent years, in-flight entertainment has been expanded to include in-flight connectivity services such as Internet browsing, text messaging, cell phone usage (where permitted), and emailing.

Satellite and internal telephony

Now, airlines provide satellite telephones integrated into their system. These are either found at strategic locations in the aircraft or integrated into the passenger remote control used for individual in-flight entertainment.

Passengers can use their credit cards to make phone calls anywhere on the ground. More modern systems allow passengers to call fellow passengers located in another seat by simply keying in the recipient’s seat number.


Several airlines are testing in-cabin wi-fi systems. In-flight internet service is provided either through a satellite network or an air-to-ground network.

In the Airbus A380 aircraft, data communication via satellite system allows passengers to connect to live Internet from the individual in-flight entertainment units or their laptops via the in-flight Wi-Fi access.