Emirates celebrates 30 years of best-in-skies entertainment and communications

In 1992, Emirates took the bold decision to install TV screens in all seats in all classes of its fleet. This revolutionary move defined passenger expectations and the in-flight entertainment industry for decades to come.

Emirates has not looked back since, constantly innovating new ways to help advance entertainment and communications at 40,000 feet. Large 4k ultra-high-definition screens, faster and improved Wi-Fi connectivity are some of the most exciting developments Emirates has planned for the next generation of IFE systems that will be delivered with future fleets on order as the airline continues to refine its in-flight entertainment offerings. In addition, Emirates is constantly updating its extensive on-ice content library, with more than 100 films and 200 TV episodes added each month.

Patrick Brannelli, Emirates senior vice president of retail, IFE and connectivity, said: “When Emirates introduced personal screens on every seat in 1992, it was considered a huge innovation in the industry. Other airlines questioned the feasibility of this huge investment, which at the time was estimated at around $15,000 per seat.

But we quickly realised that our customers liked to be entertained throughout the flight. This reduced flight times and increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Within a year, we were already working to expand our choice of content to 20 channels on Emirates’ Boeing 777 aircraft, which were due to join our fleet in 1996.

We never stopped improving our product. Emirates is constantly adding the best content from over 40 regions to our IFE system and making sure that this amazing content can be viewed on the industry’s largest personal screens and through our quality headphones and audio systems. Emirates has also been a leader in in-flight connectivity, starting with the introduction of satellite phones in 1993 to the first installation of systems enabling the use of mobile phones on an aircraft. Today, every Emirates aircraft is equipped with a communications system and we have already placed orders for the next generation.”

Emirates’ award-winning in-flight entertainment system, originally launched in 2003 with 500 channels, now offers every passenger more than 5,000 channels with movies, music, TV shows, on-demand selections and documentaries in more than 40 languages. Total accumulated hours of entertainment include over 3,900 hours of movies and TV shows and over 3,300 hours of music and podcasts. An Emirates passenger would have to make more than 500 flights from Dubai to Sydney to use the entire library.

The success of Emirates’ investment and IFE strategy is evidenced by customer loyalty and positive feedback in all cabin classes, as well as numerous industry awards, including Best In-Flight Entertainment at the APEX Passenger Choice Awards® in 2022 and Best In-Flight Entertainment in the World by Skytrax annually since 2005.

In addition to entertainment, Emirates ice offers a range of other practical features such as: the ability to check flight status en route; live sky views during take-off and landing using cameras attached to the nose, tail and underwing of the aircraft; a useful guide to Emirates hub Dubai; EmiratesRED, the world’s first in-flight shopping channel; and a range of personal development content, including LinkedIn Learning.

Emirates customers can browse a wide range of content, create their own playlist on the Emirates mobile app and then sync it on board for a more personalised journey.

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