Service Designer and Consumer Psycholgist


In-Flight Entertainment

Lead project for a worldwide IFE provider to define the future of in-flight entertainment in a world that has full internet connectivity on planes, and more passengers bringing their own devices.
Conducted international research and developed a design framework for future product development.

The Client

Global Eagle Entertainment is a provider of IFE systems, media content and internet connectivity on flights. Their systems are white labelled and sold to some of the largest airlines. 

The challenge

For a long time, in-flight entertainment systems in the backs of seats have had a monopoly on passengers' attention, but with more passengers bringing their own tablets and more flights having internet connectivity for passengers, this is far from the case now.

GEE wanted to understand users' needs and expectations around flying so they could rethink the products and services offered, and avoid disintermediation by just becoming an internet provider. They were particularly interested in adressing any cultural nuances from different markets. 


Phase One

Trend analysis and diary study to understand the current landscape, trends in how people are using apps during the booking and travel experience, and looking for any differences between markets.

Trend Analysis

To kick off the project, we reviewed all the existing research GEE had from previous projects to understand the existing landscape, and how the industry has been evolving.

We conducted a landscape review of different products and services that passengers used for travel, entertainment, rewards, and other areas related to the project. This allowed us to begin identifying trends to look for in our customer research, such as the illusion of personalisation in services, and the role of wearable technology, linking each trend to potential opportunities for GEE.


Diary Study

Building on the insights we gathered from the trend analysis, we conducted a diary study with 36 participants across 6 markets.

We set tasks for participants to complete as they went through booking and travel, which they fed back through daily updates with pictures and videos to Google+.

This allowed us to capture key activities and pain points, as well as information on device and app usage, such as common entertiainment apps used on flights, what apps jhelp them with travle information, and who the main players were in each market.


Phase Two

In-flight ethnographic research, to get an in depth understanding of the experience that individuals and groups have when travelling, and how it varies between long, medium and short haul flights.

Analysis and synthesis

Once we had collated all the insights from our research, we began distilling and refining our findings. After the first draft, we ran a 6 hour workshop with the client and their team to refine the outputs and ensure produced the most useful deliverables. At the end of the project, we produced:

- Observations on cultural nuances, and how different types of smart devices are used at different stages of the journey

- Profiles on Business, Leisure and Family travellers, with supporting journeys and specific device usage information

- A list of tested assumptions from the clients, and related insights

- a framework of 4 experience principles and 8 opportunities for new services, to inform new product development

Ethnographic research

Using the insights gained from the diary study, we undertook ethnographic research on 10 flights, where we met with participants either at their home or the airport and observed their experience until they had left the airport at their destination.

This was a great opportunity to drill into details we'd identified from the diary study, and also uncover unconscious actions and behaviours that participants weren't aware of. 

We used a set of prompt cards which we created based on previous insights, and video cameras to capture the experience.