Bookends : The Oldest and the Newest In Flight Entertainment Systems

The Curtis F-5 flying boat that boasted the world's first in-flight entertainment system

Did you know it is 90 years this year since the first ever in flight entertainment was offered on a passenger flight.  We’ll do the math – yes, that dates all the way back to 1921.

The first ‘system’ was on a converted navy flying boat operated by Aeromarine West Indies Airlines, a short lived but innovative airline that lasted only until 1924.  In comprised a movie projector strapped to a portable table placed in the aisle of the 11 passenger plane (pictured above).  As for the movie shown, it had no sound, not that it mattered – you wouldn’t have heard the sound anyway over the deafening roar of the twin 400 hp engines.

So while some parts of the flying experience have not improved all that remarkably over the last 90 years, in flight entertainment (IFE) definitely has.  And what of the future – we are poised on the dawn of a new generation of IFE capabilities, but a generation which offers potential challenges as well as enhancements.

For more information, please visit our complete article chronicling the evolution and looking into the interesting future of IFE.

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