February 18, 2021 / For years, touch screen-controlled inflight entertainment systems (IFE) have been the the must-have amenity onboard aircraft. Then came Covid. Inflight magazines were the first to disappear from onboard airplanes. But all frequently-touched surfaces became a potential danger, including of course individual IFE screens available on long-haul aircraft. Airlines applied more stringent hygene protocols to reassure passengers regarding cleanliness of cabins. Though, those few who were lucky enough to fly in the last 12 months noticed many passengers wearing gloves onboard.
Now, to provide greater piece of mind to those travelling long-haul, Qatar Airways (QR) announces the introduction of two new IFE upgrades on its Airbus A350 (-900 and -1000) and Boeing 787-9 fleets. The Doha-based carrier says that it will “soon” offer A350 passengers the ability to control the seatback IFE via their personal device, without actually touching the IFE screen. The ‘Zero-Touch technology’ has been developed in partnership with the Thales Avant IFE system, and sees passengers able to pair their device with the IFE by connecting to ‘Oryxcomms’ wifi and then scanning a QR code displayed on the screen.
In addition, the airline is to offer passengers on all of its B787-9 aircraft the option to pair their Bluetooth headphones with the seatback IFE system. The pairing technology will be available to customers in both Economy and Business Class.
“The introduction of the Zero-Touch technology, and enabling passengers to use their personal Bluetooth headset on board is an important step in taking our already rigorous and stringent Covid-19 precautions to another level, limiting passenger surface contact and preventing any possible spread of infection on board” commented QR’s CEO Akbar Al Baker.
Qatar Airways has 53 Airbus A350s (34 -900 series and 19 -1000 series, with 5 more of the latter on order) and 7 Boeing 787-9s (plus 6 more on order) in its fleet. (Photo Matteo Legnani)