Reader Vince sends in this photo and asks what it really means:
Just got back from a trip on Air Canada and I think they may be setting it up to start charging passengers for inflight entertainment. Before your VOD [video on demand] starts it says “You personal entertainment experience is currently provided compliments of Air Canada.” Currently? I took a picture with my iphone…
It would be interesting to find out whether they are actually planning on starting to charge for this, as this message is fairly recent and was not shown when the service was originally launched.
Well, Vince, I asked Air Canada if they were planning to allow sponsorship of its inflight video system, or if the system were designed to be pay-per-use. “Currently” provided compliments of Air Canada sure suggests that free entertainment isn’t going to stay free for long. So are there plans to impose a fee for passengers, or is Air Canada vying for inflight entertainment sponsorships?
Air Canada’s media relations staff wouldn’t respond for comment.
So we’re left to speculate.
Obviously, the “currently” modifier clearly suggests that the price isn’t staying at $0.00 for long. And Air Canada was an early adopter of the “a la carte” pricing model for its tickets. It’s easily conceivable that some fare codes might get the video thrown in, while the cheapest seats pay per use.
Or, you might see a sponsorship deal, wherein all entertainment is “brought to you by Tim Horton’s” or something like that.
Without a sponsorship, the airline will likely resort to selling access to entertainment, but would that fundamentally be any different from selling headphones? (Yes, I realize that you can bring your own headphones, and that you can’t bring your own Air Canada video access code…)
Be forewarned, bring a good book, and be sure any electronic toys are charged before takeoff.