Thomas Cook to rent inflight PSPs

Thomas Cook to rent inflight PSPs

Thomas Cook Airlines is to replace its free inflight entertainment systems with hand-held Playstation PSPs.

The device will be rented for £7.50 per flight, in a move that echoes an industry-wide shift to generating ancillary revenue rather than raising the headline price of fares.

easyJet and US-based Frontier Airlines also introduced optional PSP hire in April, also costing £7.50. Meanwhile, the Australian low-cost carrier, Jetstar Airways has announced plans to become the first airline to rent out iPads. It will charge passengers AUD$10 (£5.85) to hire the devices, which will contain pre-loaded ebooks and feature films.

Passengers on all short- and medium-haul flights will be given the option of hiring the devices, which will come pre-loaded with eight feature films and a selection of television programmes and video games.

Ian Derbyshire, Thomas Cook’s chief executive officer, said only one in 10 passengers used the airline’s existing in-flight entertainment.

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Research conducted out by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics last month revealed that US carriers’ extra charges have increased by at least 42 per cent since 2008, according to The Telegraph.

Ryanair has increased its extra charges by up to 700 per cent since 2006. It launched the trial of a hand-held entertainment system in November 2004, charging passengers £5 to use the devices, but lack of interest from passengers led to it scrapping the project just five months later.

A spokesman for Ryanair said it had no plans to revisit such a scheme, although other carriers may decide to follow the lead of Thomas Cook and easyJet, following a deal signed last month between Sony and IFE Services, the in-flight entertainment firm.