Qantas scraps music from in-flight entertainment on domestic flights

If you're someone who enjoys tuning into new and classic music through Qantas' in-flight entertainment system, it turns out you're in a minority.

Such a small minority, in fact, that Qantas has decided to scrap its music and radio offerings on board domestic flights and some trans-Tasman flights.

The airline said this week that a review of its in-flight entertainment offering found that fewer than 10 per cent of passengers were listening to its on-demand music and radio channels.

The change will affect planes with seatback screens on domestic routes, predominantly Boeing 737s and Airbus A330s.

A Qantas spokesperson said the airline's research showed that the majority of passengers were listening to music stored on their own devices, and those using the in-flight entertainment were watching movies or TV shows.

Podcasts and audiobooks will still be available and music and radio will still be provided on international flights, though not on Boeing 737 flights to New Zealand.

Qantas is rolling out in-flight Wi-Fi on its domestic services which would allow passengers to stream music using their own devices.

But some passengers seemed unhappy with the news, with many tweeting Double J radio's Tim Shiel after he invited listeners to comment on Twitter.

"I've had times where during stressful landings the albums available have made a huge difference! Axing it is a real shame," said Clancy Bennett.


Chief executive of Australian music rights organisation APRA AMCOS Dean Ormston also expressed his displeasure with the decision.

"Qantas says no-one listens to their music channels/selections. The lacklustre curation of music focused audio/video could be the cause!" he tweeted.

Ormston told Traveller that APRA was "deeply disappointed that music, and Australian music in particular, will not feature on in-flight entertainment on domestic flights".

"In their role as the national carrier Qantas has the opportunity to literally carry Australian stories in Australian voices to the world via their customers, and tell those stories to music loving Aussies as well. Australia is a music nation, and our year on year revenue stats show there is an increasing appetite for local music both here and abroad."

"The opportunities are endless - audio, video, podcasts, playlists, print, background music at departure gates, live music in the lounge - the key is focused curation across the brand. It's a win/win/win scenario for Qantas, their customers and the music industry. It would be a shame not to reconsider this move, and the feedback we've received echoes that sentiment."

Qantas' in-flight entertainment system was rated the 4th best in the world at this year's World Airline Awards, behind only Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways. A recent Traveller flight review cited the Qantas system's box sets, including series from HBO, as the highlight of the in-flight entertainment.

Earlier this year, Qantas revealed the most-watched movies on board for 2017, with the surprising news that animated family comedy Boss Baby came in at number one, followed by Hugh Jackman's X-Men spin-off, Logan, which was classified as MA15+ due to "bloody violence".

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