With the Federal Aviation
Administration loosening rules on the use of portable electronic devices during airplane flights, seatback trays could use an overhaul to make them more device-friendly. That’s the goal of a new
partnership between Clear Channel Airports and SmartTray International, which are joining forces to introduce several new models of seatback trays optimized for mobile media (and food).
CCA and SmartTray are introducing three new models for seatback trays. The first, the SmartTray X1, features a fixed or rotating groove to hold a personal electronic device. The second, X2, is a
“tray within a tray,” which can hold a tablet computer when the seatback tray is up or down. The third, X3, is electronic and designed for embedding airline-owned tablet devices as a
complimentary service for air passengers.
CCA will help airline clients monetize the new trays by serving digital ads to mobile devices via in-plane wireless Internet, effectively
transforming passengers’ personal electronics into digital place-based media, with potential for e-commerce integration.
Advertisers can draw on a variety of passenger data to target
marketing messages, including information like frequent flier numbers, hotels and car preferences.
In October of last year, the FAA loosened decades-old restrictions forbidding
passengers from using cell phones and other mobile devices during flight, with a ruling that “airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of
flight.” However, airlines still have to adhere to safety guidelines against loose objects in the plane cabin in case of an accident -- one of the main purposes of the SmartTrays.