Virgin Australia | virginaustralia.com: Virgin Australia now wirelessly streams entertainment to mobile devices on its domestic routes, as well as on flights from New Zealand and the Pacific islands. Virgin’s in-flight app must be first downloaded and activated before the plane takes off in order to be able to access hundreds of hours of movies, full seasons of TV shows and music. As a result, streaming avoids annoying buffering delays. Germany’s Lufthansa also plans to stream content on its flights starting next year, while U.S. carriers like Southwest do so via their in-flight Wi-Fi services, eliminating the need for the airline to make frequent upgrades to its seat-back screens.
Case for First Class
American Airlines | aa.com: American Airlines’ new planes provide an iPad case, licensed by office-chair maker Eames, as part of its first-class amenity kit. First-class seating also includes a lie-flat seat that converts into a chair that swivels 90 degrees into a work desk.
Charging Up Seats
JetBlue | jetblue.com: JetBlue takes flight with a new fleet of updated planes that offer (faster) Fli-Fi in-flight Internet connectivity, 100 channels of live DirecTV (up from the previous 36), larger 10.1-inch touchscreen seat-back screens and power outlets in every seat — perfect to recharge your mobile device.
Hawaiian Airlines | hawaiianairlines.com: Hawaiian Airlines has iPad Minis as an entertainment option onboard 14 of its planes as it revamps its current in-flight entertainment (it does not yet offer Wi-Fi or streaming onboard). Its 1,500 iPads, packed with 100 hours of movies and TV shows and games, are free for those in business class but cost $15 for coach travelers who reserve in advance.
Air France | airfrance.us: Air France will install USB ports, electrical outlets, headphone holders and larger seat-back screens (12 inches in premium economy, up from 10 inches; and nine inches in economy, up from six to eight inches) that will offer more than 1,000 hours of entertainment, with business and first class to follow. The improvements, costing $650 million, will mark the first time the airline’s seats have been upgraded in more than a decade. Air France is one of the few carriers that lets passengers watch video as soon as they board and after they land, giving them as much as an extra hour of entertainment per flight.
Virgin America | virginamerica.com: In the second half of 2014, Virgin America will become the first airline to use Gogo’s upgraded in-flight Internet service, which features a combo of air-to-ground cellular networks and satellites that provide connections 20 times faster than current speeds.