Picture the scene: you’re sitting back watching
CNN in a Virgin Blue 727-800 somewhere over Australia and news breaks, live, of a serious aircraft accident,
like yesterday’s Air France crash at Toronto Airport.

It’s one of the great no-nos of in-flight entertainment – exposing
passengers to any programs showing disturbing plane-related footage – but
it’s just one of the scenarios Virgin Blue will face when its fleet
starts offering passengers Pay TV later this year.

Called Live2Air, it
will offer the choice of 24 Foxtel and
Austar channels, including Sky News Australia, CNN, The Comedy Channel,
Fox Sports 1 and 2 and Nickelodeon, all for $5 a flight. And because the
news will be live and not the usual pre-packaged deal, it will be up to
passengers to screen what they want to see.

Qantas, which gets its news pre-packaged from Nine, has been
bagging the idea, saying it will backfire when passengers are
inevitably exposed to upsetting stories.

But
Virgin Blue says there’s no point censoring the news. After all, passengers could very well see it
before take-off in a lounge, or hear about it en-route during a
stopover.

Peter Fray

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