The Best In Flight Entertainment - and the worst
The desire to travel further afield has really taken off in the last few years with countries, with the likes of Myanmar (Burma) and China, opening their borders to eager foreign guests looking for the latest adventure.
However, while life is indeed a journey of discovery rather than the final destination, it is the travelling bit that can either be the most entertaining of them all, or leave you feeling somewhat daft with boredom.
While many young nomads now travel armed with iPads, tablets and an assortment of hi-tech gadgetry to kill the boredom, there is still a large swathe of travellers that look forward to the back seat TV screen for hours of entertainment.
So at Wise Traveller, we took a look at what airlines are doing to help their passengers kill the long hours of journey and which ones seem to have a way to go:
Best In-Flight Entertainment
For ten years, Emirates has carried off the crown as the best in the business for entertainment according to Skytrax. With more than 1,800 channels, passengers can enjoy everything from the best and latest movies, real-time news and sports and all in 'ice Digital Widescreen'. You can also use wifi to keep in touch with family and colleagues. You can even take in the flight from the aircraft's external cameras. All in all, it sounds as if it would be a shame to get off the plane at all!
Another awarding IFE system that customers can enjoy is through Singapore's next gen KrisWorld system, on its new Boeing 777-300ERs. Featuring larger screens and touch-screen handsets, there are more than 1,000 entertainment options, with the standard news, movies and more than 80 interactive games. There are also nice touches such as learning a language via Berlitz and Rough Guides to places before you land.
Qatar Airways' in-flight entertainment system is called Oryx Entertainment and is packed with improvements since its hook up with Thales that is introducing a new system for a fleet of 30 787 series. There will be broadband connectivity as well as passenger touch screen displays which range from 10.6 inches to 17 inches. Passengers can enjoy over 1,000 options from movies to games and audio.
Regarded by many passengers as the creme de la creme of in-flight entertainment, it is no surprise that Virgin, an entertainment company in its own right, can indeed keep passengers happy for many hours. From wifi to connectivity to messaging family elsewhere on the flight to Google Maps, movies, games and digital shopping, Virgin has it all. The system known as Red affords passengers the chance to order snacks and meals, and allows passengers to send cocktails to a fellow traveller via a touchscreen.
Stepping up to the plate to improve its in-flight experience is Qantas. Recently, it announced plans to introduce a new system on its domestic and international A330 carriers to provide passengers with more blockbuster film, television box sets and flight information. The touch-screen operation will be augmented with wifi connectivity, as well as maps and playlists, and a timeline for drinks and meals. Screens will also be increased in size while international passengers will be able to buy duty-free orders through the system.
The Best Of The Rest
Turkish Airlines and Cathay Pacific are among passenger favourites for top-grade entertainment systems, while Lufthansa will be offering wirelessly streamed movies to passengers in trans-European flights to their own devices via an onboard server.
Lufthansa features up 50 movies, 30 radio stations as well as children's programming to make the family experience an entertaining one.
The likes of BA, Etihad, Delta and JetBlue are not far behind in the entertainment stakes with variations between them all, but just as good to keep passengers of all ages widely and thoroughly entertained on the journeys.
The Worst In-flight Entertainment
While it's unfair to pick out the worst in-flight entertainment systems on airlines, Business Insider carried out a review of the worst fliers for overall experience in which IFE was a key consideration.
In its mid-2013 survey, drawn from reviews on Skytrax, some of the worst feedback for IFE included Air Algerie; Indonesia's Merpati Nusantara Airlines; Morocco's Royal Air Maroc and Uzbekistan Airways.
The worst top three were 1) Turkmenistan Airlines; 2) Sudan Airways, and 3) Ukraine International Airlines.
So book carefully and enjoy the height of the IFE systems in the sky!