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WestJet to offer in-flight satellite TV

KEITH McARTHUR 00:00 EDT Wednesday, July 09, 2003

"Air Canada quickly responded that it is also looking at options to provide personal video screens for its economy-class passengers before the end of next year.

"We will offer a price-competitive service that offers a superior product to Westjet's," Air Canada spokeswoman Renée Smith-Valade said yesterday."

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Guest toron1

Well this proves the adage that imitation is the best form of flattery.

I think that it is an off-the-cuff rebuttle by someone at Air Canada. Air Canada is still following the WestJet leadership, maybe now they will be able to come out of CCAA after this announcement.

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In-flight entertainment systems linked to scores of jet 'difficulties'

Safety concerns grow: U.S. carriers have reported 60 incidents since 1998 wiring-related Swissair crash

By Gary Stoller


As a Boeing 757 airliner climbed to 14,000 feet in March, a routine takeoff suddenly became an emergency. Sparks and smoke came out of the passenger cabin's in-flight entertainment system, cockpit instrument lights lit up, and the rudder and control wheel moved.

The pilots, who reported the incident to a government safety database, said they returned for an ''uneventful'' landing. The database doesn't identify the airline involved or the U.S. airport the flight diverted to, but the timing of the event was significant.

It was the same month the Canadian government concluded that entertainment system wiring may have caused or contributed to a fire that sent a Swissair jet into the ocean near Nova Scotia in 1998, killing all 229 aboard. The Canadian Transportation Safety Board said an entertainment system wire or another wire short-circuited, creating a fiery electric arc that ignited acoustic insulation blankets.

Despite intense scrutiny after the Swissair accident, in-flight entertainment systems continue to malfunction, and U.S. airlines are still being ordered to modify some systems.

A USA TODAY analysis found that since the Swissair accident, U.S. airlines have sent the Federal Aviation Administration 60 ''service difficulty reports'' about in-flight entertainment systems, many involving fire, smoke or sparks.


Many jets have traditional in-flight entertainment systems with overhead movie screens shared by rows of passengers. Others, particularly new, wide-body planes flying international routes, contain more sophisticated equipment with individual screens that allow passengers to choose a movie, play games, shop or gamble. Upstart airline JetBlue offers live satellite TV on monitors at every seat.

Some major airlines offer video or audio entertainment on most of their planes, while some, such as Southwest, have no jets with such equipment.

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Yeah, and a Russian jet crashed a few years ago because of a badly installed toilet leaking blue water and causing corrosion to the airframe.

I don't hear anyone suggesting we ban toilets,

In Swissair you had a system that was poorly installed by some fly-by-night opperation in Europe and the Beavis and Butthead types down at Santa Barbra Aerospace looked the other way and certified the shoddy work. (if students hired the teachers, everyone would get an A)

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Last time I flew Air Canada (A321 YYZ-YYC) the inflight entertainment was a showing of Independance Day that had been so badly edited that if you had not already seen the movie you would have figured the director was on crack. So anything would be an improvement.

However, I would be curious as to where Air Canada plans on getting their system. JetBlue seems to be keeping it close to their chest and only licensing it selectively. Frontier was able to get it because I understand the agreement was inked before JetBlue bought the system and I would imagine people connections between WestJet and JetBlue played a role in their deal.

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Guest blizzard

Well, I have it on good authority (someone involved in the development of this at WestJet) that the reason WestJet went ahead with TV was because Air Canada was investigating/planning doing it.

Just because WestJet went public first doesn't mean that they were the first to work on the project.

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