Airbus 330 Entertainent system

I recently went to Vegas, which is a very long trip (about 20 hours including stopover). I don’t like flying that much, my ears hurt and it is very boring to be crammed in a chair for 10 hours, with a headrest that makes your chin touch your chest no matter how you adjust it. However, on this flight (and the one back) there was a nice personal entertainment system installed in each chair.Below are some images of the personal entertainment system which is installed on the Airbus 330’s of Northwest Airlines. These are a real treat on long distance flights. There is a fair selection of on-demand movies, music, some simple games and flight information. It lets you choose a movie, and you can pause and skip as much as you like. You can use your own 3.5mm jacked headphones, no more of that adapter-buying-if-you-are-lucky-you’ll-get-stereo crap you see in the older planes. The menu even contained an item called “email”, but it was not functioning at the time I tried it. Besides you had to swipe your credit card for it, which I didn’t find worth trying even if it would work.

Bejeweled Controller Flight information Movies
Nice little game, Bejeweled The controller (has to be turned 90 degrees sometimes, confusing!) Guess where we are? Travelling at 950km/h there 🙂 Watched Chicken Little. It does not live up to it’s commercial by a long shot.

Funny thing is, that my wife’s entertainent system actually crashed during flight. It got stuck for about 5 minutes, after which it automatically rebooted, and guess what? I saw a Tux! It is actually a Linux system. A bit of googling revealed that a few people even have seen the system crash on all monitors at the same time. Good thing they aren’t using this system for the flight controls yet. 😉

But it does make sense. It doesn’t cost anything, and being open source, Panasonic (the manufacturer of the system) has full controll on getting all the glitches out. Now they actually do need to do that still, but I bet they got a nice (remote?) update procedure for that. After all, they also need to upload new movies every now and then. Maybe they use the same connection as they use for email? 100% remote update would be nice. No “downtime” for the planes!.

I for one liked the system very much. It actually has games which let you compete with other passengers, but that didn’t seem to be popular on my flights to Las Vegas. I didn’t even had to get my PSP out of my bag 🙂

Now if they only could make those stupid headrests removable so I can put my head back when I want to sleep (like most normal people), flying wouldn’t be all that bad.

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