the in flight entertainment system on AirBus 380 sucks

I was on a long-haul flight back to Shanghai from Europe last night. The plane carrying out the 12 hours flight was an AirBus 380. This was the first time that I flew with 380, and I was kinda expecting for the trip until the very moment that I sat down and saw the inflight entertainment system.

Here’s how it looks

Pretty standard set up with a main screen in the center and a handle on the side.

Here are the reasons why I DON’T like about it:

  • the screen: really low resolution resistive screen, which means you have to press really hard using your finger (or sometimes nail) to make it responds. And the one that I was using was barely working, I was only able to trigger it for no more than 3 times through the whole flight. I had to use the handle.
  • when it came to the handle, I quickly noticed that there was no hard back button. I had to use the direction arrows to navigate to the soft on screen back button and press ok to go back one screen or use home button to go all the way back to home. Either way it’s troublesome.
  • and why there is this small window on the handle? Besides showing up the airline logo, it has no value. Not even when it is showing up application status, cuz those is already on the main screen.
  • UI of the software: 1. all of the main features are directly visible on the landing screen which is good. Selecting them using both input cursor or touch should be easy. 2.
  • the USB charging socket is handy, but, there’s no place to put the phone during charging (P.S. I was using a short charging cable, no long enough for the phone to reach the binder storage down below.)

And here is my optimal features list:

  • High resolution, multi-touch supported touch screen (basically an iPad)
  • Wifi — If wifi signal could be provided in flight, (even if it is just intranet / limited access to flight information with paid upgrade to access internet) there will be totally not necessary to have the clumsy display installed in the back of the seat. Passengers can use their own mobile/tablet devices. (As I can recall, United has this in-flight wifi on its continental lines)
  • Universal compatible ear plug
  • Hanger on the back of the seat where you can hang your suit or jacket. (Boeing has it on their 7x7 planes)
  • USB dock to charge my phone (big plus: a slot or socket where I can put my phone in during charging)
  • Separate hard buttons for all of the other facilities, e.g. reading light, service buttons. Separate these buttons from the entertainment system.