Qantas and Scoot Airlines recently announced their rent-a-tablet program to help them shave weight hence saving fuel on the flights. I’m all for saving fuel but this initiative comes at a price: experience. As a tech-savvy traveler and an airline crew member, I know that passengers will always appreciate the K.I.S.S.-approach. K.I.S.S., of course, is the acronym for Keep It Simple Stupid. The brightness, volume and channel buttons should be enough. With iPads and tablets, airlines are making “in-flight entertainment” a chore.
Here are some reasons why:
- Passengers will have to lug this to their seats in addition to their carry-on bags and kids/babies in tow
- Storage during flight – Passengers will have to hold tablets while eating or drinking? Good luck with handling kids while holding this with one hand.
- Young kids plus food and drinks and a tablet… enough said.
- Who operates the tablets for passengers with special needs?
- Who’s to say none of the 250 passengers on board steal this while I go to the lavatory? Another thing passengers have to worry about.
- Tablets have to be returned after the flight. Where is it returned? Passengers have to ensure and confirm that they’re released from liability.
My solution? Forget this rent-a-headache approach. Most passengers will have a smartphone, tablet or iPad that they use while traveling. Why not offer a 10 free movies and games of their choice to download before traveling? Passengers can use their own device whether it be an Android or iOS device. Smartphones are smaller and lighter than an iPad. Guess what? That means lesser weight! And giving passengers movies and games leave a lasting imprint of the airline long after the flight.
It just seems to me that the rent-a-tablet approach was designed by people sans customer relations experience. Because if they deal with customers they would have realized the inconvenience they’re creating in the name of fuel efficiency.