• Inflighto Staff Writer

Inflighto Releases the First COVID-19-Safe Moving-Map for Airlines Passengers

Updated: Jun 12

As airlines scramble to provide their passengers with a hygienic travel environment in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, existing touch-screen inflight entertainment technology, installed in seat-backs, is coming under increased scrutiny as a potential hot-spot transmission point for viruses like COVID-19.

Touch-screen inflight entertainment screens are touched by hundreds of passengers, many times during each flight. A single entertainment touch screen on an average commercial airliner can be touched over 2,500 times in a single week. Now airlines are considering alternatives to touch screen entertainment systems to reduce the likelihood of viral transmission through this legacy technology.

Australian company Inflighto has developed a moving-map app that can be downloaded onto passengers’ personal mobile devices and accessed in flight. This removes the need for passengers to make contact with potentially infected touch screens to access information during their flight. This drastically reduces the likelihood of viral transmission from passenger to passenger and the spread of COVID-19.

Director of Inflighto, Chris Smyth, said that moving maps are the second-most popular content on inflight entertainment systems - after movies - and that passengers still expect airlines to provide this important information service - even in a post-COVID-19 environment.

"Airline passengers expect up-to-the-minute information during their flight via the traditional moving-map. The Inflighto app offers passengers the ability to access highly-detailed moving maps with information including points of interest, live weather radar, flight data, live marine-tracking and live natural event tracking," said Chris Smyth.

"However, unlike seat-back inflight entertainment touch screens which are touched by thousands of passengers in any given week, Inflighto allows passengers to access information and flight data in a safe and hygienic way, on their own mobile devices. This drastically reduces the chance of contracting COVID-19 and other transmissible viruses," he said.

Major international airlines have implemented new social distancing requirements which require passengers wear masks and sit at least 1.5 metres from one another. Airlines have also significantly increased their cabin cleaning and sanitizing regimes between flights. Contact points in aircraft that passengers frequently touch – particularly seat-back entertainment screens - only add to this burden. With over 300 touch-screens requiring cleaning on the average airliner, Inflighto is helping airlines solve this problem by providing a tangible, more hygenic, alternative.

"The Inflighto app can be downloaded by airline passengers from app stores directly onto their own mobile devices - which are more hygienic than aircraft touch-screens. Inflighto also makes its technology available to airlines to embed into their own mobile apps as a 'white-label' solution which allows them to label it with their own brand. This gives airline passengers a seamless experience within an airline's own digital ecosystem," said Chris Smyth.

In addition to the hygienic considerations, airlines have been removing seat-back entertainment screens for financial reasons. American Airlines recently began removing seat-back screens in their aircraft and installing inflight Wi-Fi technology instead. This reduces the cost of installing and maintaining hundreds of expensive touch-screens on each aircraft in the fleet. Removing seat-back screens also reduces weight which significantly reduces airlines’ fuel costs. Instead, passengers are encouraged to bring their own mobile devices and connect to their preferred entertainment via WiFi internet.

"The the Coronavirus pandemic will no doubt accelerate the retirement of the seat-back inflight entertainment screen. Airlines were already removing these screens to save costs before the global Coronavirus pandemic hit, but now that hygiene and passenger wellbeing is a bigger consideration in a COVID-19 environment, we will see airlines move more quickly to remove them," said Chris Smyth.

As the world comes out of the COVID-19 cloud and airline passengers once again take to the skies, they will find that everything is a lot more hygienic at 35,000 feet. They will also find that inflight entertainment has changed forever and that the Inflighto app is leading the charge in keeping them better informed and safe from the threat of viral infection.

For more information on Inflighto's unique and hygienic moving-map technology solution, please contact [email protected].