Heathrow Airport has collaborated with SITA to offer passengers new on-demand entertainment before they board their plane.
The two new ‘EntertainMe’ kiosks installed at the gate level of Heathrow’s Terminal 5, feature top film releases, television programs, newspapers and magazines which passengers can pay for and download directly to their iPhones or iPads.
Top film releases, newspapers and magazines available to download from Heathrow ‘EntertainMe’ kiosks
Passengers make their content selections on an interactive touch screen and pay for content using ApplePay, or a contactless (NFC) credit or debit card. Passengers can use the complementary WiFi at Heathrow’s terminal to download their selections, which can be viewed in-flight offline.
“We are constantly looking to enhance the travel experience for passengers at Heathrow and these new EntertainMe kiosks designed by SITA will provide a unique entertainment solution for our customers,” says Roberto Segala, Heathrow’s Head of Commercial Services.
While many airlines offer rich in-flight entertainment (IFE) content in-flight, installing seat-back systems on regional, short-haul and mid-haul aircraft may not be practical.
A few airlines offer set overhead screen programming, but more often passengers can enjoy the in-flight magazine, the never to be underestimated view out of the window, or whatever they brought with them.
Increasingly, what passengers bring with them resides on a tablet or smartphone.
SITA’s 2016 Passenger Trends IT Survey found that 90% of passengers travel with a mobile device or tablet and 46% of them use the devices to access entertainment.
Low-Cost Carriers have generally avoided providing any in-flight entertainment, though a few, like Transavia, have started offering passengers films and programs they can download pre-flight on a Wi-Fi connection and enjoy onboard for the duration of the flight.
But any passenger–regardless what airline they are flying–can download entertainment from the airport kiosk. Even passengers who will fly on aircraft with some entertainment onboard might find selections which aren’t playing on their flight. That opens up the service to a larger share of the market.
“The initial trial will take place in Heathrow’s iconic Terminal 5, which serves more than 30 million passengers a year,” Segala says. “We are very excited about this newest addition to Heathrow and look forward to seeing our customer’s reaction to this innovative product.”
The ‘EntertainMe’ kiosks were developed by SITA and partners, Orange Business Services and Adaptive Channel.
“We know passengers want access to the latest entertainment on their mobile devices and Heathrow’s EntertainMe kiosks make that quick and easy. Passengers get the content in seconds and can then access it without needing, or paying for, any data connection. Having these SITA-designed kiosks at Heathrow Terminal 5, which was voted the ‘World’s Best Airport Terminal’ for the fifth year in a row, is a great testing ground for this innovative service,” says Dan Ebbinghaus, Senior Vice President, Communication and Infrastructure Solutions, SITA.
Beyond the latest Hollywood hits, newspapers, magazines, and TV series, which will appeal to a wide range of passenger interests, Heathrow’s new ‘EntertainMe’ kiosks also offer travel assistance and inspiration in the form of city guides, and destination video tours. The kiosks will be regularly updated to feature new movie releases and other fresh content.