View Full Version : Problems with VS A340 IFE?

4th Aug 2001, 22:17
Was on VS A340 "China Girl" G-VSKY last night from JNB to LHR. Capt announced 20% of inflight entertainment systems disconnected due to "flight safety" reasons. Was later told by crew it is affecting all A340's with the Arcadia system. Seems some handsets have started to smoke!!! Thing was no mention was made prior to boarding so no option to switch to BA or SA. The fault meant that reading lights could also not be operated. During black out some Pax resorted to using torches to read. :(

The Guvnor
4th Aug 2001, 23:56
That's interesting. I've long held the opinion that seat back IFE is a wast of time for the following reasons:

1) It continues to have serious software reliability issues, which means that the pax get treated to what Gaza had last night - no IFE. That means p1ssed-off pax, which isn't a good idea.

2) The hardware is very heavy; and generates huge amounts of heat.

3) There's a phenomenal amount of wiring required to hook up 350/400 odd seats.

4) Installation and maintenance expense costs are every high (around $1m per aircraft, depending on system and the number of seats)

5) The licence fees for the video programming run at approximately US$1m per annum, per aircraft.

6) Income from advertising won't cover much more than a fraction of those costs - even if you're a major operator such as BA.

7) The control units (especially those stupid combination telephone handset/IFE controls) are usually sited exactly where your leg or arm is most likely to press when you move to avoid DVT ... meaning that just at the critical moment in a thriller, the display will suddenly switch to the flight tracking display.

8) Pax, especially in Y class, find it hard to see the screen especially when the bod in front has reclined his seat.

Taking all of the above into consideration, I'd say junk it and rather use decent LCD flat screen monitors throughout Y class and provide handheld DVD players or Watchmans to the premium pax.

4th Aug 2001, 23:56
Sorry to pour water on your fire but there is no problem with the handsets catching fire. I think it could be down to a delay in new handset delivery's. Anyone who deals with IFE could tell you of the problems of damaged handsets, pax think they own them and can take them home so try to rip them from the seat arm!! Nobody needs rumours of smoking seats doing the rounds!!

5th Aug 2001, 00:38

Quote of "smoke" was from flight supervisor. After Swissair it's understandable that VS don't want to take any chances. He also stated that it is on all a/c eqipped with Arcadia. On their outbound at leats 150 seats affected. None of this is made up. Unless of course the Capt and Supervisor are lying. Perhaps someone close to VS can comment.

5th Aug 2001, 09:49
I've lost count of the number of times I've sat down in a BA 777 Club seat to find the IFE is inop.

Last time the FA apologised, saying that usually they would reset the seat, but they weren't too keen on doing it these days due to SR111.

It seems the system BA (and UA?) use on the 777 (GEC Marconi) is crap - apparently the Matsu****a system (EK 777 and standard on A330) is much better.

5th Aug 2001, 22:19
Gaza,,Denzil is correct, don't believe everything Flight crew tell you. How do I know ? I'm an Engineer!

6th Aug 2001, 00:48
Cheers fellow engineer type!! The cabin and flightdeck crew are incorrect, as is usual a little knowledge has gone a long wrong way! As for it only being on arcadia aircraft, this again follows my comments as the handsets awaiting delivery are for this system. Please try not to scare people unnecessarily :mad:

Self Loading Freight
6th Aug 2001, 05:31
And can I just say that if anything on an a/c was prone to catching fire when not intended, and this didn't result in an immediate grounding of everything involved for removal or fixing, then this would be a scandal of the first order.

Anyone who knew of this and didn't blow the whistle would certainly be off my Christmas card list in nanoseconds...


[ 06 August 2001: Message edited by: Self Loading Freight ]

6th Aug 2001, 14:31

If there are aircraft where things are intended to catch fire, I'd like to know so I can avoid that A/C type!

6th Aug 2001, 20:45
What the RAF did with the L1011's that fly to the Falklands now doesn't seem quite so odd.

The C2's (still more-or-less standard ex-Pan Am Tristar 500's inside) had the projectors etc. stripped out when they went military. Instead you are now offered a Sony Watchman and a list of available (fairly up-to-date) films.

Not sure how much a complete seat-back IFE set-up weighs, but this lot comes to about 700Kg's if I remember and is all stored in standard galley trolleys.

Self Loading Freight
6th Aug 2001, 22:18

How else do you make the twisty bits in the engines go round?


6th Aug 2001, 22:32

VS offer Upper Class pax a Sony Watchman in addition to the standard IFE.


I'm confused with your comment about Arcadia being the new system. On the outbound leg the aircraft was refurbished i.e. new Upper Class seats and a more advanced IFE system I think was called Ulysses (??). It had a beige coloured control. The return aircraft was non-refurb. The in-seat control looked well used and was black.

6th Aug 2001, 23:19
Dearie me - no IFE must be such a pain! What ever did we do before the Nintendo generation got old enough to fly as long-haul passengers? Let's think:

1. Seats with rather more pitch - particularly for those in 'I paid for my own ticket' class.
2. Civilised multi-course dinners with each course served individually.
3. Appropriate beverages to accompany the above.
4. To travel was almost more enjoyable than to arrive!

Personally I'd far, far sooner have more leg room and a nice leisurely 4- or 5-course meal than an airline tray and a seat-back video which I could just as easily hire at home!!

7th Aug 2001, 03:01
Gaza, I didn't mention a new system just replacement handsets (new) for the exsisting one. There are two systems in use on the VS A340 (three on the B744) a/c and all use completely different handsets.

Wycombe, the C2's (or Pan Am's as we used to call them) had the projectors stripped out due to the lack of movies available on the old style cartridge system, not just the fact that they are for military use. The watchman option, although simple, must also be very expensive!!!