Filling your suitcase isn't the only packing you have to do before going on holiday: you also have to load your tablet, phone or laptop with movies and TV shows to keep you entertained while you're away. But when you fly with British airline Monarch, all you have to do is provide the tablet and they provide the movies.
Monarch has today released MPlayer, an app that gives you access to a selection of movies and TV shows while you're in flight. And instead of watching on the small, fuzzy screen in the back of the seat, you can enjoy your chosen entertainment on your glorious 10-inch iPad or other tablet.
Available for iOS from the Apple App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore, the app contains both paid and free content. Ideally, you'll download the app before you fly; then, upon boarding you can connect to the plane's onboard Wi-Fi network to start watching. The Wi-Fi comes from a single server under the flight deck linked to wireless access points throughout the plane, furnished by Milton Keynes company Aerofi.
Once connected, the MPlayer media bundle costs just £4 (around $6.70 or AU$7) per person per flight, and gives you access to five blockbuster Hollywood movies, and 50 episodes of BBC television programmes. There's also more than 50 albums in there if you fancy a mid-air musical interlude.
Monarch installed new seats in May with a handy tablet-sized slot replacing the in-flight entertainment. The seats don't recline, safeguarding the knees of the person behind you. The airline also claims the new lighter design of seat saves fuel on each flight.
Of course, a cynic might suggest that all this is a clever way to disguise the fact that the airline has removed its in-flight entertainment system, leaving those of us without tablets bereft of entertainment. An even more cynical person might go further and point out that the airline has figured out a way to charge you to watch your own tablet. Luckily we're not that cynical.