WestJet to test new in-flight entertainment concept

WestJet will be testing a new in-flight entertainment system next year. (Vacclav/shutterstock.com)

WestJet will be testing a new in-flight entertainment system next year. (Vacclav/shutterstock.com)


, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

Canadian airline WestJet announced plans this week to test a new entertainment system next year which will allow travellers to use their own devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones to access the plane's in-flight entertainment system.

With the new screen-less system, Canada's second airline is expecting to reduce costs. If the test's results are positive, the airline will be removing the seatback screens. Without the screens, airplanes will be 544 kg lighter and hence will use less fuel.

Currently, passengers on WestJet flights have access to 24 live TV channels and four channels with stored content. Pre-loaded tablets can be rented for around $10 on some flights.

With the new system, passengers will be able to access around 1,000 movies, use an internet connection and stream some live channels for sports and business.

It is not yet clear whether the airline will charge for the content or not or whether it will use ground towers or satellites to support the entertainment system.

Earlier this year, the low-cost carrier announced plans to introduce a new premium economy seating in 2013 offering extra legroom, priority boarding as well as complimentary on-board amenities.

Other low-cost airlines are testing this new in-flight entertainment concept such as Norwegian Air Shuttle. The carrier announced in October that is planning on building up a system to offer music, movies and travel articles to passengers on their own smartphones, tablets and laptops. The new system is scheduled to start working next year.