Air travel usually involves a lot of fun and excitement. The joy of soaring in the skies, hovering above cloud cover is unparalleled in any of the other modes of transport currently available. But once your flight has attained designated flight altitude, which stays steady, there’s not much to do. For years, long haul international flights had in-flight entertainment facilities. These allow you to watch movies or popular TV series. Even listen to some music or play games. Vistara did offer a similar service, but the devices were provided by the airline. But in today’s day and age where devices with passengers is a given, Jet Airways introduced its in-flight entertainment (IFE) service called JetScreen. The service is live on most routes the airline operates on.
What’s different about JetScreen is that you no longer have TV screens in front of your seat. Instead, it lets you stream audio and video content directly to your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Jet Airways claims the service has about 220 hours of digital content.
On my recent Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Nagpur, I had a chance to try it out. And while it was available on the Mumbai-Nagpur route, I wasn’t so lucky while returning back. Here’s my first impressions about the JetScreen service. ALSO READ: Indian government could soon allow use of Wi-Fi, mobile phones on flights
How to access JetScreen
To access JetScreen on your smartphone or tablet, you will need the AirTime Player app installed on your device. You can download the app from the Google Play Store or App Store for your Android or iOS device, respectively. It’s a free app, and you will need to install it before your flight – as there will be restricted internet access on the aircraft to download it later. On your laptop, you can access it from Internet Explorer on Windows-based laptop, or via Safari Browser on Mac.
Once onboard, turn on Flight Mode and enable Wi-Fi. After the aircraft takes off and reaches the desired altitude, JetScreen will be turned on and you will be able to see the network in your Wi-Fi settings. It’s an open network and you can simply hit connect, and you’re done.
Now, once you are connected to JetScreen Wi-Fi network, you can either open AirTime Player app to access the portal or enter the URL (jetscreen.jetairways.com) on your browser. Alternatively, you can also access airtineinflight.com portal on your device.
What type of content is available on JetScreen?
Once connected to the JetScreen portal, there are two sections – entertainment and destination. Under entertainment, you have TV shorts, movies, music and games. Under destination section you have the flight tracker where you get to see where you are headed, the time remaining, satellite view of the route, distance remaining and the estimated time of arrival. You can also see the current altitude heading and ground speed.
Now, talking about TV shorts, you can choose to watch Koffee with Karan, The Kapil Sharma Show, Byte Me, Ted Talks, The Big Bang Theory, The Tom and Jerry Show, Gotham and Friends among others.
In case of movies, you can choose between Bollywood, Hollywood, regional movies and trailers. List of movies include the likes of The Martian, English Vinglish, Maqbool, Drishyam, Akira, Kapoor and Sons, Baaghi, Sultan, Sholay, Rustom, Rangeela, Saathiya, Tamasha, Pink, Kai Po Che, Badlapur and Rio among others.
While just five games are present – such as Solitaire Classic, Pic-Fix, Letter Mix, Hue Drops and Eye2Eye, JetScreen has a good collection of music library. Bollywood music includes songs from Befikre, Dangal, Tum Bin 2, Shivaay, Rock On 2, Dev D, Dil Se, Baar Baar Dehko and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam among others. Also, in case of internal music, you have popular songs from Abba, ColdPlay, Nirvana, Maroon 5, and more.
The videos aren’t high definition ones, but rather run at a resolution of 768x432pixels. Audio is also decently loud, but it will be too much to expect super high-quality stuff. Despite low-quality, the content is watchable – it’s better to have something for time pass, rather than having nothing.
How’s is JetScreen better than traditional in-flight systems?
An in-flight entertainment solution like JetScreen is good for airlines as they can completely eliminate the expensive hardware – mini displays, wiring all around the plane, and giving passengers headphones for every trip, thus no hygiene issues. The set-up cost of JetScreen is relatively low, as the airline only has to have a central server where digital content is stored, and ensure that Wi-Fi connectivity is available through every corner of the aircraft.
What are the downsides of JetScreen?
First off, the traditional in-flight entertainment systems start as soon as you board the plane and you can continue watching until the plane lands, whereas for JetScreen, you have to wait until the fight takes off and reaches a certain altitude. ALSO READ: Here’s the real reason why airlines always insist you put your phone on airplane mode
Secondly, traditional systems pause when there is an in-flight announcement and resumes playback as soon as it’s over. However, in case of JetScreen, you miss out on the in-flight announcements. Thirdly, while JetScreen offers details about the distance remaining, altitude and groundspeed, you don’t get to see the outside view offered by live external cameras on some aircrafts.
Overall, JetScreen is still in its nascent stage and yet to be implemented on all domestic flights. At some point, it feels pointless as on short routes you won’t be able to complete watching a movie, and only best option is to listen to music or watch a TV show. However, instead of having a rather boring flight, some entertainment is always better. Just like on long haul international flights, the Indian aviation industry is also working to introduce in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity that will let you surf websites, check your emails, chat on social networks. But till then, JetScreen is all you have.
If you have already tried the JetScreen service, let us know about your experience in the comments section below.