06 September 2008

IFE troubles at Delta

When Delta first started its video on demand system from Ratheyon many years ago, the company supplier paid penalties to refit their client’s planes several times to get the system to work. That system, as one Ratheyon engineer who was riding as a support trip duty told me – was built on a Windows NT 3.0 server. UGH! I experienced this many times!

Delta tried again with a new system which it designed to compete with JetBlue's LiveTV service. Rolled out across the Song Fleet – when that idea died, they used it as the basis for a systemwide IFE service. And from a functionality point of view its really quite nice. I love the fact that you have in seat power and live TV as well as a decent selection of movies. Web access would be icing on the cake but that is coming - very soon to a MD88 near you.

However now the problem is that the system is unreliable. The system is built on a Linux Kernel – this is a picture I have seen a very large number of times. I have taken over 20 flights this year on the domestic Delta fleet and every single time I have flown on one of the 757 or 767’s configured with the service they have been problems. In talking to several of the flight attendants several of them have remarked that yes indeed it does happen frequently. One FA even said it was the majority of the flights she was on.

This would not be if you had to pay for it.

I only hope that the latest version does not need resetting as often as the current release.


PS - An earlier version of this post made it seem like I had to refit the planes. I apologize for this mistake. I have however had to get my seat's IFE reset many times on many different flights.

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