Comparing in-flight entertainment options from six different airlines

Comparing in-flight entertainment options from six different airlines

There can be so many different factors involved when trying to choose which airline to fly. From the cost of seats and flight times, even to food and in-flight entertainment. Over the last few months we have been travelling around Europe, including doing a lot of sitting down on airplane seats trying to figure out what to do with our spare time.

Having a comfortable seat, a warm meal and an abundance of TV and movies to choose from can ease the woes of travel, so who should you consider if this is a major factor in where you want to spend your holiday dollars?

Aegean Airlines

Aegean Airlines Airbus A320
Aegean airlines seats

Aircraft: Airbus A320
Class: Economy
Entertainment: Overhead TV
Our Flight Time: Anywhere from 1-3+ hours over four different flights

We have flown Aegean Airlines before, so we already knew this low-cost carrier wasn’t going to include any in-flight entertainment on our routes. We had no TVs in front of our seats and certainly no Wi-Fi entertainment portal, with our only distractions coming from an overhead TV.

We flew about four different routes with Aegean Air, the majority getting us in and out of Athens and onto the Greek Isles…so we watched every in-flight infomercial at least three times. Our Airbus A320 had an “Immerse yourself in Greece” series of tourism advertisements that I will honestly say entertained us and sparked some inspiration for our upcoming trip.

These short films took us on a tour of Greece, showcasing the archaeological sites of Athens, the civilisation of Crete and the beautiful white houses of the Cyclades, as well as delving into Macedonian history.

Quick tip: Bring your own headphones if you want to hear any of the videos.

Review: 2 out of 10, will drop it one more point if I have to watch the Greek showcase a 5th time.

IcelandAir

IcelandAir In-flight entertainment

Aircraft: Boeing 737
Class: Economy
Entertainment: In-seat TV
Our Flight Time: 3+ hours

Whether or not IcelandAir count themselves as a full service airline, they certainly like to make themselves out to be, without going through with the promise. Depending on which ticket you purchase (with meal service included in their more expensive Saga Premium ticket price) you generally will have to pay for everything on top, which initially threw us off when booking our not-so-cheap flights.

However, if you are looking to entertain yourself to pass the time, thankfully there is a wide selection of free onboard in-flight entertainment options for you to choose from. Just make sure you bring a headset, or alternatively you can purchase one if you left yours in your other travel pants.

There’s a wide range of movies, TV shows, music and kids' stations, as well as Iceland tourism videos to give you inspiration for your upcoming stay. There’s even an onboard service which allows you to book your airport transfer straight from your seat (which we actually did as it was way cheaper than a taxi). We found our in-seat TV to be more of a full-service entertainment hub than just a place to watch some shows.

I attempted to sit through the new "Tomb Raider" movie before realising my mistake and moving onto the much better “Isle of Dogs” animation before our flight landed.

Review: 8 out of 10

EgyptAir

EgyptAir seats
EgyptAir in-flight TV

Aircraft: Embraer E170
Class: Economy
Entertainment: Overhead TV
Our Flight Time: 2+ hours

I wouldn’t completely write off EgyptAir if you are making your choice based purely on their in-flight entertainment. We just happened to be on a less popular route which meant flying in an Embraer cabin instead of their usual Boeing cabins, which do include in-flight entertainment options through your phone.

EgyptAir did provide us with headphones, which was a nice touch if you wanted to watch the overhead TV for entertainment. They managed to squeeze in a showing of "Black Panther" before we had to prepare for landing.

Review: 3 out o 10 for their Embraer cabins

Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air plane
NorwegianAir In-flight entertainment

Aircraft: Boeing 737
Class: Economy
Entertainment: Wi-Fi Portal, purchasable TV and movies
Our Flight Time: 3+ hours

Norwegian Air is a low-cost carrier, but the surprise is that they have integrated a fully-operational Wi-Fi-enabled entertainment portal. It was quite simple to use and no app download was required as it’s all operated through your internet browser on your phone.

For €5 you get a 24-hour pass (so great if you are doing a few connecting flights with them) to watch whatever TV and movies you desire. Also, if you are flying within Europe, some live news broadcasts from Bloomberg and TV2 are available.

I was quite impressed with their selection, including some brand new releases (Goodbye Christopher Robin), some recent DVD releases (Murder on the Orient Express), and you could even go right back to some classics like "Die Hard" and "The Mask".

There was a wide selection of TV shows, including comedies, kid shows, British television and documentaries. It’s safe to say that your €5 (around AU$8) will go a long way.

Review: 8 out 10

Scoot

scoot plane
ScootAir in-flight entertainment

Aircraft: Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Class: Economy
Entertainment: Wi-Fi Portal, purchasable subscription TV and movies
Our Flight Time: 5-12+ hours

If you are booking a Scoot flight, you should know what you are getting into. This low-cost airline is well known for their nickle-and-dime tactics to get as much as possible out of your insanely cheap fare. This goes right down to food and beverage options as well as your in-flight entertainment selections, which are around $15 per flight rather than a 24-hour time period.

When comparing to Norwegian Air, it’s like night and day on how much easier and cheaper the European-based airline is when offering an entertainment portal. On top of being more expensive and only a pay-per-flight deal, to get access you need to make sure you download the ScooTV app prior to departure, which could throw a few people off.

Their current movie selection does give you access to over 100 movies and TV shows with quite a broad range of selections, including the brand-new "Deadpool 2" and "Game Night" as the premiere films. You can find anything from comedies to dramas to a small selection of international films, as well as HBO’s "Westworld" and "Family Guy" if you are wanting a quick television fix.

Review: 6 out 10 simply because of the setup process and price when compared to other airlines.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines in-flight entertainment

Aircraft: Airbus A321
Class: Economy
Entertainment: In-seat movies and TV
Our Flight Time: 3+ hours

During our course of exploring Turkey, we caught around three Turkish Airlines flights. Each had unforgettable service and a well-stocked entertainment system. Before logging in it’s very hard to miss the excellent Lego Movie safety briefing. If you have yet to see it, you won’t regret watching this safety briefing video at home.

From here you can start watching the latest Hollywood hits like the new "Avengers: Infinity War" movie and the excellent thriller "A Quiet Place". There are also plenty of new release music albums, radio stations and video games to pass the time.

Review: 8.5 out 10

What did we learn from comparing six different airlines' entertainment systems?

IcelandAir plane

Mostly that it’s 2018, your flights are still costing you hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and airlines still can’t put TV’s in the back of their seats? My smartwatch can watch YouTube videos. Airlines, step your game up.

But in all seriousness, if you are booking a full-service airline you can generally rely on there being a well-stocked TV for your viewing pleasure. Personally, I will make an effort to go and see movies I want to see at the cinemas (like the new Marvel flicks) but films like "Isle of Dogs", which may have slipped by me, are there sitting in front of me as a reminder to watch it.

Also Netflix and YouTube have offline downloading to your phone…because it's 2018.

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