Ever been stuck on a flight watching Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and wished you could whip out you’re laptop and download something else? Well Aircell, the founders of the largest in-flight Wi-Fi network are hoping that’s true, and are planning to launch a new video rental service later in the year to capitalize on that very idea.
Movies downloaded using the Aircell video service can be saved to any Windows PC and the renter has 24 hours to watch their purchase. The approach is similar to the iTunes model, but Aircell promises that the pricing will be competitive with Apple at $2 to $4 per TV show or movie, and presumably the file will be optimized for the limited bandwidth available in the air.
Surveys conducted by Aircell have suggested that a video on demand service would be popular with users who find most airlines entertainment options somewhat lacking. Unfortunately we still don't know if users will need to pay the $5-$13 Wi-Fi access fee in addition to the rental costs for the video, and clearly this will make or break it for most people. If you pay $10 for a 2 hour flight + $4 for a movie, that’s a $14 rental. It’s hard to imagine this would be the case, but you never know when it comes to the airlines these days.