Friday, November 16, 2007

Emirates ICE Entertainment

Taking long flights can be extremely boring. And in this day and age long haul flights have become a necessity for business and leisure. I remember back in 17 when I would fly to Hawaii from Jakarta I would have to entertain myself for 13 hours+ mostly on my own. The airline would show only a few movies, most of which I had seen already so I resorted to the next best thing, getting wasted. I have lost count how many times I have flown back and forth between Far East Asia and West Africa with nothing else to entertain me than a drinks and snacks cart. But with technology, things have gotten better. I recently flew Emirates from Singapore to Dubai. It was not a brand new aircraft but it had a very decent entertainment system in economy. I always fly economy. There are numerous games you can play by yourself using the multipurpose controller and a variety of music and movies to can watch and listen to. But the movies are hosted and controlled by a central system so you can not start them on demand. From Dubai I caught a connecting flight to San Paulo which is a new sector for Emirates, which means a brand new aircraft. I do not know what plane it was but the interior was very, very nice. The seats were definitely more spacious than the previous aircraft and each was fitted with an ICE entertainment system. I believe it ICE stands for Information, Communication, and Entertainment. And this system is all of that. There seemed to be some sort of a HDD below each seat which did impose upon leg movement a bit. But each system gives each passenger on call access to a variety of stuff, including TV programs, movies, music, flight information, the internet, telephones, and even SMS. Not only that, but each seat is fitted with a socket where you can plug in your electronic devices to charge, a USB port so you can view information your digital devices directly on the personal monitor, and an Ethernet port for internet access! What more the movies and music available are off the hook, apart from all the new stuff they features movies from old Disney classics like Aristocats to old Hindi films like Sholay and Kurbani. In music they have a whole variety of albums. I particularly enjoyed listening to Ziggy Stardust from start to end. The system did stall and reboot a few times but overall it was off the hook. Flying has never been so entertaining. I cant wait to see what the next decade has to offer. In the meantime, here is a short video clip featuring the new Emirates ICE Entertainment system and their brand new aircraft.

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