An average of 8 million people fly every day. That’s an insane number — almost the entire population of New York City, which is the most populated city in the United States. While 17% of people prefer to sleep on an airplane, 62% of people prefer to watch movies or read. With that many people in the air and wanting activity of some kind, good in flight entertainment systems (IFE systems) are an incredibly important part of keeping the flyer both happy and willing to fly on a particular airline again. IFE systems can be something like a high-resolution aircraft display monitor, which can be used to show movie or television programs to passengers. However, there’s no guarantee that what’s on is what a flyer wants to see. An extremely useful way — and one many airlines overlook the importance of when it comes to an inflight entertainment system — are USB ports.
Why USB ports? IFE monitors are certainly important, but in the more modern, digital age, more and more people are bringing tablets and e-readers on flights, with almost 40% of people considering them carry-on essentials. Tablets and phones have several advantages over their non-digital counterparts. One of their biggest selling points is portability: you can pack hundreds of books and dozens of movies on a single tablet, but it’d never weigh more or take up any more space. Unfortunately, they come with a major flaw: they need to be charged. Movies especially can drain a tablet’s or phone’s battery incredibly fast, and on long flights, this can be especially detrimental. Nothing’s worse than getting into a movie or book, only for your device to die before the end. Many parents will also bring their children on flights, but most children don’t have the patience or attention span for long flights. To keep their child entertained, parents may bring a tablet that’s loaded with games. However, some games drain the battery just as fast — or sometimes faster — as movies. Being able to keep these devices charged can help keep these children and their parents happy for the entire flight.
Most “smart” devices nowadays, such as iPhones and iPads, can be charged simply by plugging them into a standard USB port. With the wonders of modern technology, most passengers have some kind of smart device on them at any given time, and USB ports are a cheap and easy addition to IFE systems that can make these people happier and more frequent passengers.