Qatar Airways will be the first airline to offer passengers contactless technology for in-flight entertainment systems, reducing the spread of germs and viruses. Olivia Palamountain reports

In line with its commitment to Covid-safe air travel, Qatar Airways is introducing completely touch-free entertainment on its A350 fleet of planes. Instead of having to press buttons on remotes or swipe fingers on communal touchscreens, movies and shows are accessed through passengers own personal devices.

The “Zero-Touch” technology, introduced in partnership with the Thales AVANT in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, will enable A350 passengers to pair their personal electronic devices (phones and tablets) with their seat-back IFE screen by connecting to Oryxcomms wifi then scanning a QR code displayed on the screen.

Once connected, they can choose from more than 4,000 pieces of content through the airline’s Oryx One in-flight entertainment system.Qatar Airways IFELimiting the frequency of on board surface contact and providing greater peace of mind throughout the duration of journeys is a priority for the airline. This innovation follows Qatar Airways’ recent accolade as the first global airline in the world to achieve the five-star Covid-19 Airline Safety Rating by Skytrax.

Qatar Airways is also set to become the first airline in Europe and the Middle East and North Africa region to offer passengers in business and economy class the option to pair their personal Bluetooth headphones with the on-board seat-back IFE system in all cabins on the Boeing 787-9 fleet.

Qatar Airways group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, says: “The introduction of the state-of-the-art Zero-Touch technology, and enabling passengers to use their personal Bluetooth headset on board, is an important step in taking our already rigorous and stringent Covid-19 precautions to another level, limiting passenger surface contact and preventing any possible spread of infection on board.

“We hope it provides yet further assurance of the safety of air travel, as well as offering passengers on board increased confidence that they are enjoying the most consistently advanced customer experience available in the sky.”

In the age of Covid-19, touch-free travel is big business. Globetrender has reported on the likes of United’s touch-free kiosks to process bags and issue luggage tags for passengers travelling from London Heathrow, the zero-emissions Arrival bus, created to make bus travel appeal to germaphobic passengers with the likes of motion-sensitive zero-touch bells, and China’s smart, entirely touch-free Leyeju hotels, where a robot shows you to your room and your curtains draw themselves.

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