Thursday, May 14, 2009

Flying Air France

Wow, I love the new video system in the Air France planes! We thought it was cool several years back when we got individual video screens in the seatback in front of us to watch movies and play games. That way we could choose our own movies to watch rather than watching the one and only selection on one of the overhead screens. One drawback, however, was that movies started at designated times and you either had to wait for them to start or start watching partway through. Another was that you couldn’t pause, rewind, or fast forward through a movie. So if your attention was required for something else, like the stewardesses serving drinks or meals during a crucial part of the film, you ended up just missing that part.

Not with the new system. It functions more like an individual DVD player. Movies start when you’re ready. If something requires your attention for a moment (like a stewardess asking what you’d like to drink or which meal you’d prefer), you can pause the show. Didn’t quite catch what happened, or want to hear those words again? No problem, just hit rewind. Now that’s cool!

Now if they could only come up with a way to stop interrupting the movie every time the captain or a member of the cabin crew wants to make an announcement!

Speaking of announcements, they nearly drove us nuts in Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. This isn’t the world’s most user friendly airport to begin with. The food and drinks are horrendously expensive, as are the shops. And there’s nary a place to lie down for some zzzzzz’s during a long layover, mostly just chairs to sit in. Not that you could sleep very well even if you did manage to claim one of the few lounge seats available because every few minutes there is a chime followed by a taped announcement, first in French and then in English, either about not smoking in the airport, or not taking packages from strangers. Who pays attention to announcements like that anyway? Certainly not the Asian guys I met smoking in the men’s washroom!

No comments: