VIDEO: NextGen IFE is here, though it still has a few quirks


As iPads and smartphones continue their crusade into every aspect of our lives, passengers have come to expect inflight entertainment systems to mirror the high-tech experience. Last month, I flew on American Airlines’ brand new Airbus A321T and had the chance to try out its Thales IFE system in First Class, which is still considered bleeding edge tech in the industry.

It became immediately clear that this system is of a new generation, responding as quickly as an iPad to touch and requests. The system is highly graphical and borrows a few traits from iTunes, such as cover flow to display the large list of movies. While playing movies, the system was more responsive than any system I had used in the past. It allowed me to not only fast forward and rewind, but to seek to an exact spot on a timeline, a feature which comes in handy when there’s an interruption. The moving map even allowed for multi-touch gestures to zoom in and out, just like Google Maps on a phone.

Because the system is so new, there were a few minor bumps in the road. The system locked up and took about 30 minutes to finally reboot, but old systems are certainly not free of this issue. There are also a few quirks with the tethered remote, which I feel isn’t properly utilized and can use some improvement. Overall, this Thales system shows us that the next generation of IFE is here, and passenger demand for a better experience is being heard. Read my full review of American’s new A321T service on Routehappy.

About the author, Jason Rabinowitz:

Jason is a true #AvGeek who researches things about airlines, airplanes and travel. He is one of ‘s data guys. Email him at