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#PaxEx Podcast: Entertaining passengers in face of changing landscape


Welcome to Episode 43 of the #PaxEx Podcast. Our guest for this episode is Tomás Romero, an award-winning writer/producer from Los Angeles who has written dozens of screenplays for such studios as Paramount, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Telemundo and MTV, two of which were produced as feature films. A contributing editor at Runway Girl Network since March 2014, Romero pens the popular IFE Film Review column for RGN. His work has also appeared in such publications as Airline Passenger Experience magazine, Airline Retail News (A.R. News), and Aircraft Interiors International.

Firstly, it’s Oscars season and several of this year’s higher profile Oscar nominees are currently playing on inflight entertainment (IFE) screens or streaming to passengers’ mobile devices. Tomas emphasizes how the non-theatrical window of release – enjoyed by airlines, ships and others – is shrinking, and notes that passengers can now download certain early window movie content on their own devices in advance of their flight. He also tells us about some of the Oscar-nominated titles he’s recommending to passengers.

Next, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood can seem oddly trivial in light of the surreal drama unfolding on the political stage these days, but that drama seems to be inspiring actors and comedians to a new level of excellence with SNL being, perhaps, one of the most visible examples. Co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby join Tomas in considering whether we’re seeing a renaissance in the arts, and what this means for airlines’ TV and short-subject programming. And, as tensions are flaring on the ground and in-flight, should airlines exercise caution about their IFE content choices?

Last but not least, The New York Times has published an article predicting the demise of in-seat IFE systems, at least on narrowbody aircraft in the near-term. In the context of the discussion about the shrinking non-theatrical window of release for airlines, Mary, Max and Tomas consider the business model for in-seat IFE on short- and long-haul flights; address why carriers and their content service providers must consider careful and creative content curation to differentiate from what passengers can access on the ground; and highlight how some airlines are cleverly evolving with the times by supporting second screen apps to enable passengers to interact with the IFE system in a more personalized fashion. Plus, will Hollywood ultimately smash its own windows? We discuss.

Photo at top courtesy of the LATAM Airlines Group, which is featuring 13 new Oscar-nominated films in-flight.