VIDEO: Delta’s new IFE system is designed to feel futuristic


In a recent advertising blitz, Delta Air Lines started boasting about the fact that every single one of its international long-haul widebody aircraft now offer a personal inflight entertainment (IFE) system to each passenger. But not all IFE is created equally.

On a growing percentage of the Delta fleet, passengers can find the very latest generation Panasonic eX2 IFE system on board, which brings some noticeable improvements to the table over older-generations Panasonic audio/video on demand systems.

Before passengers even sit down, the new screens alter the passenger experience (#PaxEx on Twitter). When compared to the older Panasonic eX2 versions, the new, lightweight ‘Eco’ in-seat monitors – integrated into slimline seats – make the entire cabin feel more modern and up-to-date, which is no accident. With its motion sensors and glowing blue lights, this system is designed to feel futuristic, and it hits the nail on the head.

Unlike older iterations, the latest eX2 system responds to touch instantly. I never encountered any lag or issues selecting an on-screen button. The content library on this Delta flight was generous, but I wish it were easier to see an overall list of titles available, rather than just three at a time.

Movies were available in an impressive variety of languages, though closed captioning was not available (CC will be essential soon). The high-resolution moving map is a thing of beauty; however, it lacks interactivity. What you see is what you get – no pinch-to-zoom or POI information here. Unfortunately, the system took a page from its older cousin and stopped working with about 30 minutes left in the flight and failed to restart at my seat.

Overall, the IFE system is a great step forward for the economy class passenger, bringing IFE closer to the experience you might find with an iPad.