On international flights, we’ve all suffered co-passengers laughing for apparently no reason, until we realise that they’re plugged into the in-flight entertainment system, and are laughing about something that’s a secret between them and their headphones.
Jokes aside, I got my first experience of a JetScreen last week, on Jet Airways 9W 7068 from Guwahati to Delhi, and here’s what I thought.
From the ads and other communication I saw over the past few months, I figured it is: in-flight entertainment, on your own electronic devices – smartphone, tablet, or laptops.
Which is smart, because it saves the airline the cost and weight of in-seat screens and headphones while giving us a “time-pass” option of in-flight entertainment.
So How does JetScreen on Jet Airways work?
Well, to begin, you need two things:
In case you’re using a Windows laptop, you must have version 7, 8, or 10 installed; or OSX 10.9 onward for MacBooks.
To connect, here’s what you do once on board after the flight takes off (with devices on Airplane Mode):
a) Turn on your device’s Wi-Fi, look for JetScreen Wi-Fi network, and connect to it. You don’t need a password or any other authentication… since there’s no risk of another airline’s passengers stealing the Wi-Fi here 😉
b) Open the Airtime Player App and give it permission to use your device
c) Your browser should automatically open, and take you to the homepage of JetScreen, displaying its options. If not, just go to jetscreen.jetairways.com
The JetScreen service basically has two verticals – Flight Information (the kind we get on screen, on international flights), and In-flight Entertainment, which is divided into TV Shows, Movies, Music, and Games.
Click on the screenshots below, to see more details.
The Flight Information is standard, and useful if you’re the kind who likes to track where you are and at what time. I was happy to discover we fly over Siliguri, which I’m hoping to visit soon, and got a good look at the city from above (it was all wet and shiny with the monsoon and setting sun reflecting off huge tracts of water!).
On the Entertainment side, I didn’t get into the Games section but explored the TV, Movie, and Music options.
This brings me to the “time-pass” option I mentioned earlier in this review. From what I saw, the movies and TV shows were old, and stuff I’d already seen.
Unlike on international flights where you often get to see some new, and rare movies or television shows, here the choices comprised movies and shows that have done well in the past few years, and most of us would have seen them.
In an age of low-cost smartphones with increasing storage space and free/cheap content all around us, inflight entertainment content has to be really good and unique for it to be watchable, let alone be seen as a differentiator for an airline.
For me personally, there was nothing exciting or interesting to watch on the JetScreen, and I had more interesting Netflix and Amazon Video content downloaded on my iPhone and iPad.
Similarly, many people have more interesting content on their devices, and I have noticed co-passengers watching stuff on their phones and laptops, on every domestic flight I’ve flown in the past couple of years!
Coming back to the JetScreen on my flight, I noticed two of my fellow passengers watching “The Kapil Sharma Show” after they took help from the Cabin Crew to get the service setup on their devices. One was sitting beside me, and I could see it playing on his screen. The other was a gentleman across the aisle, and I could make out clearly what he was watching, because he wasn’t using headphones and simply playing it at speaking-voice level.
Which brings me to a key problem in this system – the airline should either provide headphones, or like seatbelt wearing and no smoking rules, they should insist people use headphones to use their JetScreen!
The Music option included some popular Bollywood tracks, and relatively unknown International tracks, which I wasn’t interested in exploring.
I’m surprised, that Jet Airways doesn’t offer the same great entertainment options it does on International flights. I guess licensing and territory issues restrict what they can show on domestic flights.
Even though there wasn’t anything of interest for me, I decided to check out the video and audio quality of the entertainment, so I watched my favourite song from one of my favourite fun movies – Student of The Year with Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra, and Varun Dhawan. I must say, I was impressed by both the picture and sound quality.
Images and Video: 4.0 / 5.0 (light and reflections from all around marred the viewing experience)
Audio Quality: 5.0 / 5.0
Overall Selection: 4.0 / 5.0
I think most people would be happy to see some of these old movies and shows again, but my bets are that more shows like the Kapil Sharma Show and How I Met Your Mother will be watched than Movies like Sarkar or Wizard of Oz.
If Jet Airways reads this and can share, I’d be happy to know what their data tells them about “what people watch on short-haul domestic flights”
Overall, I’m rating the JetScreen experience a good 4.5 on 5. Because this is a good start of a useful service, and a better option to listening to strangers show off who they are, and inquire about what you do.
But until better content becomes available on JetScreen, I will take pictures of passing clouds, landscapes, and horizons. And I will grab some precious sleep whenever I can 🙂
You can read more about JetScreen on Jet Airways, on their website here.