United’s iPOD chargers from Panasonic Avionics

United Airlines is starting to install chargers for iPHONES and iPODS in planes. This appears to be a mild transition to the real power supplies that many laptop users would really benefit from on planes, but it is a good step in the right direction, especially because other airlines are experimenting with onboard WIFI – clearly the holy grail of in-flight services. As much as I enjoyed watching six movies on my recent flight to Hong Kong from San Francisco, I think I would rather have been computing.

In fact a clever approach to in-flight WIFI would bring targeted advertising to travelers for the locations they were approaching. For example if, as I flew to Hong Kong, I had been presented with attractions and restaurant ads this would have had a huge influence on me. This type of targeting would probably more effective on long international flights than short “family travel” experiences, but as an advertising environment it is hard to imagine a richer “win – win” situation than travelers getting relevant information about things to do and see at a location hours before their arrival.

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