By Andrew Liszewski
In-flight personal entertainment systems have made increasingly cramped air travel slightly more tolerable. You don’t have to strain your neck to see an inconveniently located overhead screen, nor do you have to watch what everyone else is. But they’re usually only found on newer planes flying long-haul routes, because it’s expensive to retrofit an older plane with the integrated systems, which basically require new seats. So SkyCast has created the TrayVu system. Instead of requiring brand new seats with LCD displays popping out the back, the TrayVu simply replaces an existing seat’s fold-down tray.
Thanks to a clever design, which basically amounts to a hole cut in the tray, the display is still viewable and accessible during takeoffs, landings and turbulence. Which is important, since besides providing calming, in-flight entertainment, the TrayVu system is also a great source of revenue for the airline. Displaying ads and running commercials obviously accounts for a good chunk of change, but each tray also has its own credit card reader. So passengers can shop via online stores, and make in-cabin food and drink purchases. They can even start a per-flight tab if they so choose. The cost of each TrayVu unit is about $2,000, compared to $4-8,000 for an entire IFE-equipped seat. And broken or damaged units are easily swapped out by just removing a couple of screws.