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Frustrations in the Sky…Why So Many Plugins and Restrictions to Watch a Movie?

Frustrations in the Sky…Why So Many Plugins and Restrictions to Watch a Movie?

Flying is something I do a lot.  Having spent as much time on the road as I have, I’m accustomed to the frustrations that take place with all of the questions one goes through in order to prepare for travel.   Thankfully, I have the “rituals” in place to be able to travel without frustrations…at least for the frustrations that are in my control.  No longer do I have to mentally spend effort and time on:

  • When do I need to leave for the airport?
  • Which route should I take to avoid traffic?
  • Long term or short term parking?
  • Will the security line make me miss my flight? (Thanks TSA Pre√ )
  • Will the liquids in my bag flag me for an inspection?
  • Will this belt set off the metal detector?
  • What pre-flight food should I purchase that won’t cause indigestion?
  • Will my carryon bag fit in the overhead bins?
  • Will my seat offer adequate leg room?
  • How do I get to the rental car agency?

So while I fly often, 95% of the time it is for business travel.  When flying for business, while in the air traversing the skies, I’m typically working and preparing for the upcoming meeting or I’ll spend my time catching up from being out of the office.  This week, however, I took a personal flight after standard business hours and due to the craziness leading up to the flight, I was looking forward to pulling out my iPad to relax and watch a movie on Delta Studios. 

As soon as the airplane beeped indicating we’d reached 10,000 feet, I grabbed my iPad Mini 2 ready to browse my movie option list.  Unfortunately, I forgot to install Fly Delta prior to take off, a rookie mistake I think.  Not a huge deal, but on flights that are less than 3 hours, I know that timing is important as you don’t want to be in the last 10 minutes of movie during landing when the flight entertainment is shut off.  It is frustrating, I know.  GoGo did reimburse me on that occasion though, so props to their customer service. 

Knowing I can download it Fly Delta for free, without having to pay for Internet, I launch Safari and browse to video.gogoinflight.com. I’m quickly whisked away to a page letting me know that my browser is not supported. 

What, why I ask?  I’m using Safari on iOS.  Why would it not be supported?  I look through the supported browser list and the only supported browser for iOS is Safari 5.0 and up.  Well, the perils of being an early adopter bit me.  Apparently in inflight entertainment provided by GoGo or Delta Studios checks for a minimum and maximum version of the browser.  My iPad is on iOS 9 beta, and because of the coding restriction, it’s therefore not supported.

My frustration begins, however, I can see the logic in the decision.  Early adopters for Operating Systems could be purchasing movies and then complaining about their experience when using a browser the vendor has not yet been able to properly evaluate.  Refunds and support costs go up, service experience goes down, etc.  Whatever, I get it. I have options, no big deal. 

I then pull out my phone.  Not exactly the ideal video experience, but I don’t want to use my laptop.  Unfortunately for me, my phone battery was at 36%.  It had been a long day with a lot of phone use, not leaving me with enough battery to watch a movie, so outcomes my MacBook Pro.

Oh no!  Adobe Flash player required. 

GoGo video entertainment requiring flash

Oh no is right!  After the latest exploits in Flash, I purposely removed it from my MacBook

Turns out to watch a movie, Flash is required.  Ugh!  Furthermore, Chrome is not supported so i can’t use the embedded Flash support available via Google Chrome.  Now the frustrations are really starting to mount.  I’m on my third option and what was supposed to be a relaxing time has turned into a lot of troubleshooting and back and forth between devices. 

Reluctantly I decide I’ll install Flash and remove it when the flight is over. Success is imminent.

Or maybe success is not to be had at all!  I guess it’s a good thing I have not ordered popcorn from the flight attendant yet. In addition to needing to install Flash, I also need to install plugin for the GoGo video player.  Now I’m really reluctant to proceed.  With Flash, I understand the risks and I know how to remove it.  In regards to the Widevine Optimizer, I’m clueless and at 30,000 feet and Internet-less, so I can’t do a proper discovery. Widevine Plugin Required

Motivated now by competition and unwilling to let the situation get the best of me, I install a second plugin onto my machine.  My frustration level is at a peak and I’m ready to call the product manager over the inflight entertainment and ask him/her the below: 

  • Where’s the GoGo app to handle all of this for me? 
  • Is there a way to have a one click install to take care of what is needed? 
  • Why use technology that requires so many plugins when people are trying to use this when flying at 30,000 and may be without the Internet? 
  • What are the goals in the future to make the end-user experience more enjoyable?

Anyways, after one more browser restart, it looks as if I’ll be able to watch a movie.  By this point, I’m an hour into the flight, the flight attendant has come and gone which means know movie popcorn and I know full well I won’t be able to finish the movie. 

Why so many plugins and restrictions to watch a movie?

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