Fringe IFE: New Genres of In-Flight Entertainment – Part Three


This article originally appeared in The Entertainment Issue of APEX Experience. Read the full version of this feature here.


By Caroline Ku

Image via Qantas
Image via Qantas

Qantas treated its first-class passengers to a glimpse of the future by being first to offer in-flight entertainment in virtual reality.

Along with the ability to watch movies and explore upcoming Qantas products, a goggle-like headset, developed with Samsung Electronics, gives passengers interactive 3-D tours and 360-degree views of the airline’s destinations, “inspiring travel and promoting tourism,” says Olivia Wirth of Qantas Group Executive, Brand, Marketing and Corporate Affairs.

Live-action VR content is also being developed with Jaunt, and Tourism NT was one of the first to tap into the advertising opportunity. “What better way to demonstrate the impact this VR technology can have than by showcasing [Kakadu National Park], one of the world’s most iconic must-do tourism destinations,” says Adam Giles, the North Territory’s chief minister and minister for tourism.

With positive buzz surrounding devices like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, VR technology in the cabin is more likely than virtual.


By Jordan Yerman

In-flight anime is a rare unicorn, even when flying in Asia. ANA and Spring Airlines have used anime-style ads and costumes to promote their services in the past, but what about actually featuring anime series in the IFE lineup? Singapore Airlines is on it: Starting March 1, passengers can binge-watch season one of the anime series Knights of Sidonia through KrisWorld, SIA’s in-flight entertainment and communications system.

Different Types of Anime (click photo for description):

Anime is tough to categorize: The animation suggests children’s programming, while the broad range of content found in many anime titles can suggest otherwise. Currently, most airlines’ anime offerings target a young demographic, which makes Singapore Airlines’ mature audience-rated Knights of Sidonia experiment so… experimental. ANA carries a few anime feature films, as well as one-off episodes of family-friendly fare such as Doraemon. JAL has similar kid-oriented programming, but also features SKY MANGA, the world’s first in-flight manga collection. The visual style of manga (Japanese comic books and graphic novels) has directly influenced anime, whose series tend to begin life on the printed page.

One way or another, anime fans can get an in-flight fix of complex plotlines, hyper-expressive faces, and hairdos that defy the power of conventional grooming products.


by Jessica Sammut

APEX-Experience5.4-Fringe 18
JetBlue offers video cooking lessons from culinary school Rouxbe.

What if you had the choice between watching Matthew McConaughey in space in Interstellar or listening to astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson talk about space in an educational video? Your selection might depend on how intellectual you’re feeling that day, but more and more airlines are offering educational IFE options to passengers looking to learn something before they land.


JetBlue launched a selection of prerecorded lectures from popular e-learning site Coursera in December 2014. Passengers can take an introduction to marketing class, learn about dinosaur paleobiology or master a few strings on the guitar with a course from the Berklee College of Music. JetBlue also offers video cooking lessons through its partnership with culinary school Rouxbe (think meat brine tutorial!), and e-books for purchase from HarperCollins.

JetBlue passengers can learn before they land with e-learning site Coursera
JetBlue passengers can learn before they land with e-learning site Coursera.

On Virgin America, passengers can choose from an array of audio and video lectures given by elite professors, including the aforementioned deGrasse Tyson, where topics range from history to science to nutrition. With all these educational IFE options being offered at 30,000 feet, airlines are bringing new meaning to the phrase “higher education.”



By Jessica Sammut

An instructional video onboard Air Canada educates passengers on leg health and how compression socks can help.
An instructional video from compression sock brand Soxxy educates passengers on leg health.

Air travel passengers reference “economy class syndrome,” the discomfort and swelling that can occur in the legs during a flight; however, few are educated on what causes these symptoms and how to prevent them. In fact, what passengers are referring to is a condition known as venous reflux disease, which can itself cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the formation of a blood clot within a deep vein in the legs. DVT causes an estimated 300,000 deaths annually in the US alone. Soxxy, a brand of compression sock, is currently partnering with American Airlines and Air Canada to educate passengers on DVT prevention with the help of an in-flight video available through their IFE systems. “The video is an educational campaign about how people can improve leg health in-flight and on the ground,” says Sarah Stabile, founder of Soxxy. The video launches on Air Canada this summer and the socks are now sold in-flight by Air Canada crew, who are trained on the key benefits of wearing them.

American Airlines has not announced an official video launch date, but its passengers can also expect Soxxy to be made available onboard and within American’s airport lounges.

Watch the DVT prevention video.