April 27 2021  |  Inflight Entertainment

AirFi solution now on Eastern Airlines

By Rick Lundstrom

Eastern Airlines installs four AirFi boxes on its 767s

Eastern Airlines has nearly completed installation on 10 of its 767 aircraft with AirFi’s FASE (Fully Autonomous Semi-Embedded) wireless IFE solution.

This installation, completed in Miami by AirFi America (MEKCO Group), marks the second North American deployment for AirFi.

“Eastern was looking for an onboard solution to both improve passenger experience and generate new cross-platform opportunities,” said Steve Harfst, CEO Eastern Airlines, in today’s announcement. “AirFi allows us the achieve both while also giving our customers a touchless entertainment experience onboard. We strive to do everything possible to make traveling a safe and enjoyable experience.”

Eastern Airlines (which has an average flight length of five to six hours) is now offering a broad selection of inflight entertainment through AirFi and boutique CSP partner, West Entertainment. On their own personal devices, passengers can watch the latest Hollywood releases, award-winning classics and popular TV programs (comedy, drama, children’s, documentaries, lifestyle). Ninety percent of the content is also available in Spanish.

To create the onboard streaming solution, four AirFi Venus boxes (less than 2 kg/4.5 pounds each) are placed in overhead storage bin of each twin-aisle aircraft. They create a closed Wi-Fi network (sometimes called “Near-Fi” in industry circles), which passengers connect to, using any Wi-Fi enabled personal device such as a mobile phone, tablet or laptop. Once connected, they can stream entertainment directly through the browser, without the need to download an app.

The FASE option for installation adds a layer of security because the boxes are physically “attached” to the plane, though still classed as carry-on equipment – meaning no STC is required. FASE also connects the boxes to aircraft power supply (so battery life isn’t an issue) and automates the power on/off function.

“We’ve installed all our planes in as little as one day, while upgrading other aspects of the cabin,” said Harfst. “Quick deployment and the quality streaming entertainment were probably the main reasons we wanted to work with AirFi, but we’ve also become very excited about the other ways we can use the AirFi platform to improve our customer experience.”

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