British Airways to Lull Passengers to Sleep with Slow In-Flight Entertainment

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Photo credit: Donald Lee Pardue
Photo credit: Donald Lee Pardue

Photo Credit: Kenster79 vis Flickr
Photo Credit: Kenster79 vis Flickr

British Airways has announced a novel new addition to its in-flight entertainment system that is designed to relax passengers on long-haul flights, and possibly even lull them to sleep. This new option has been dubbed “Slow TV,” and it will soon be available right alongside traditional in-flight entertainment such as big budget Hollywood movies, television shows, games, and music. What sets Slow TV apart from those other options is that it offer passengers what is described as “wallpaper-style” footage that has been specifically selected to give them something tranquil and relaxing to look at while in the air. For example, among the initial offerings is a seven-hour long film of a train ride through Norway that plays out on the screen in realtime. 

Richard D’Cruze, the manager of BA’s on-board entertainment system, described Slow TV as “hypnotic, calming and entertaining,,” adding that it is “perfect for in-flight entertainment.” That remains to be seen of course, but he also compared it to the popular option of watching the map which displays the plane’s progress throughout the flight. Passengers enjoy watching that as well, with many finding it mesmerizing enough to keep on their screens for hours at a time.

The seven-hour long film of the train ride documents a journey from Bergen to Oslo in realtime. While that probably sounds like it would be very dry to watch when compared to other movies that will be available on the BA entertainment system, the film has proven to be quite popular back home in Norway. It is estimated that more than one million people have watched the documentary in that country, which is a very impressive number considering only a little more than five million people live there.

D’Cruze says that he already has some ideas planned for future additions to the Slow TV line-up. Those could include films of watching people knit, birds feeding, or someone taking a long walk in a park. Whatever he ends up adding to the new entertainment channel, it will no doubt be very lengthy, but designed to provide tranquil, soothing images to help passengers get through a long flight.

Photo Courtesy of British Airways
Photo Courtesy of British Airways

Slow TV will make its debut in July, first appearing on British Airways new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, as well as BA’s fleet of Airbus A380 super jumbos. Those planes obviously serve longer flights, including routes between London and Toronto, as well as Newark.

I have to admit, I am one of those passengers who often tunes into the map channel on the in-flight entertainment system just to keep tabs on the progress of the plane. It is indeed mesmerizing to watch when you’re tired, jet lagged, and unable to sleep. I’m not sure I’d have the same level of fascination with a seven-hour long film of a train ride though. Still, I’m sure there is an audience amongst travelers who will find Slow TV to be very comforting to watch when they’re in the air for hours at a time.

About the Author: Kraig Becker

Kraig Becker is a freelance outdoor and adventure travel writer who covers extreme sports, mountaineering and active travel. Based out of Austin, TX he writes about his own travels while encouraging others to seek their own opportunities for adventure where ever they go.

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