updated 10:20 pm EST, Fri February 16, 2007
In-flight iPods for rent
A Mexican airline is renting iPods to passengers aboard its flights as part of a marketing promo to differentiate itself from its competitors. Reuters reports that Mexican flight attendants aboard Volaris now serve fistfuls of salted snacks, carbonated drinks and, for about $5, iPods. "By renting the iconic music and video device to passengers, low-cost airline Volaris has got the jump on U.S giants, such Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, who have been talking for months about offering iPod seat connections," the report says. Apple last fall announced it was teaming up with Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM and United to deliver seamless integration between iPods and their in-flight entertainment systems; however, a few days later a few airlines said the announcement was premature.
"We're the first to use iPod's. We like it because no one else has it," said public relations officer Alfonso Collantes. According to the report, Volaris began handing out the 30GB devices free on Feb. 8, but will soon start charging 50 pesos per flight. The iPods are loaded with Mexican TV shows and popular music; however, Volaris has plans to load on U.S. sitcoms and other music genres, Reuters reports.
The iPod's are not integrated into seat-back video screens, like the U.S. carriers are planning, but have the advantage of being available now. Volaris is owned by billionaire Carlos Slim and media giant Televisa, the report said.
"We just went out and bought a bunch of iPods and started giving them out to passengers," said Collantes.