Taking Off: The Impact of In-Flight Entertainment Advertising on Thai Airways

In-flight entertainment (IFE) are the entertainment options and services provided to passengers on board an aircraft. These entertainment options are typically accessible through phones on the inflight wifi service, seatback screens, or other devices. 

With all the Netflix and OTT options on your own personal devices, what’s the effectiveness of IFE advertising? And why advertise on Thai Airways? 

The Power of In-Flight Entertainment

Firstly, IFE makes flying more enjoyable and comfortable by providing entertainment and distractions.

IFE can also be used to differentiate itself and attract customers. The quality and variety of entertainment options can influence passenger’s decisions, especially on long-haul flights where they spend extended periods in the air. IFE also presents opportunities for additional revenue through paid content, advertising, and merchandise sales.

As you can see, the picture shows the Thai Airways Economy class with luxurious LED lights and seatback screens.

IFE has become an essential marketing and advertising platform for airlines like British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Garuda, VietAirlines,ines, and Thai Airways due to technological advancements, changing passenger expectations, and the airlines’ goal of boosting revenue. Here’s how IFE became crucial for marketing and advertising:

  1. Inflight entertainment advertising offers a range of entertainment options, such as movies, TV shows, music, games, and more, delivered through advanced content systems. By curating exclusive content, airlines promote their brand through these platforms.
  2. By gathering passenger preferences and behavior data through IFE systems, it personalizes content recommendations and advertisements. This enhances the passenger experience and boosts marketing effectiveness.

Distribute engaging and informative content, including travel tips, destination highlights, and airline promotions. This reinforces the airline’s brand identity and value.

The age groups that fly Thai Airways the most between January 2022 and February 2023 are 22 to 34 and 35 to 44 years old. primarily from Asia or the Pacific, accounting for a staggering 3 million passengers who have taken flights. 

The breakdown of Thai Airways passengers by nationalities – A great example of an airline that uses IFE systems for advertising is Thai Airways International.

Why Thai Airways International?

Thai Airways International, or Thai Airways for short, was established on March 29, 1960. It is Thailand’s national airline. The airline is based in Bangkok, Thailand, with its main transit hub at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

(Here’s a video of what Thai Airway aircraft are like.)

Thai Airways has an extensive route network covering domestic and international destinations, including major cities in Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia; taking Bangkok as its base, popular destinations include Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai and London etc. There are three cabin classes: Royal First Class, Royal Silk Class (Business Class), and Economy Class, each offering a distinct level of service and comfort. The airline is well-known for its high-quality services, comfortable seating, in-flight entertainment, and gourmet dining options, which frequently feature authentic Thai cuisine. 

These are Thai Airways Premium Economy seats, as seen in the above photo. It is ideal for passengers taking long flights because of its plush, soft cushion seats and roomy seat front screens.

Additionally, Thai Airways offers specialized services for passengers with special requirements or preferences.

Since Thai Airways caters to a wide range of customers, from leisure passengers to business passengers, its premium services, Royal First and Royal Silk Class, make it appealing to passengers looking for a luxurious flying experience. The airline’s extensive route network, along with Bangkok’s popularity as a transit hub, make it popular among travelers connecting to various parts of the world. 

Thailand is highly marketed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) aggressively  as an attractive tourist destination, and it actively targets international tourists and business travelers visiting the country. Thailand also has visa friendly policies, providing visa-on-arrival to many countries such as India. In fact, Thailand was the only Southeast Asian country to break into the top 10 retirement destinations in the world – making Thailand ninth on the list that was compiled by the International Living magazine. No doubt, all these factors will boost all airlines calling on Thailand. 


The Thai Airways pandemic bankruptcy will end by 2024 as the integration of Thai Airways and its Thai Smile subsidiary will be completed by January. This successful restructuring will see more growth scheduled for Thai Airways coming up  The Bangkok-based Star Alliance carrier’s is not only a more streamlined and profitable Thai flag carrier and their performance speaks for itself as the airline has returned to the black in 2022’s fourth quarter of last year after posting more than $100 million in losses during the preceding decade. In the first half of this year, Thai Airways generated 21.3 billion Thai baht ($585 million) in operating profits, or a 13.9 billion Thai baht net profit.

Thai Airways Inflight Entertainment Systems has 100% of seats, and 95% of passengers use the inflight entertainment system. Approximately 300,000 high-spending passengers and 320 thousand passengers on a monthly average mean that they could leave the airport thinking of your brand. 

As previously mentioned, the vast majority of Thai Airways passengers are from Asia or the Pacific. Many passengers travel from China, Jakarta, Dhaka, Chennai, London, Kuala Lumpur, and, of course, Singapore.

In-Flight Advertising: A Unique Opportunity

In-flight advertising is unique from traditional advertising in several ways, largely because of the special characteristics of an aircraft and its passengers, as well as its environment. Here are a few key differences:


  1. In-flight advertising takes advantage of a captive audience. Because they have fewer options for entertainment during a flight, passengers are more receptive to in-flight advertisements.

  2. The environment is immersive, as passengers are confined to a relatively small space. This offers advertisers an opportunity to create a more focused and memorable ad experience. 

  3. When watching in-flight movies, magazines, or other forms of entertainment, passengers usually have a lot of time on their hands. This extended engagement allows for more in-depth exposure to advertisements.

The number of million  passengers per year has increased as IFE has become more popular as a way for airlines to differentiate themselves. For example, compare 2010’s total of 18.2 million passengers to 2019’s total of 24.5 million passengers.  

(Million Passengers Per Year)

Thai Airways’ extensive route network, premium services, and diverse passenger base allow for potential reach and impact for in-flight advertising. They have a vast global network connecting passengers to destinations in Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia. In-flight advertisers can target a diverse global audience across multiple markets.

Thai Airways also offers high-end services, especially in Royal First Class and Royal Silk Class, attracting a wealthy passenger demographic. This makes it an appealing platform for luxury and high-end brands.

In-flight advertising can be a powerful marketing tool, but it also has some drawbacks and limitations. 

Some drawbacks of in-flight advertising include ad saturation, overcrowding of the environment, and the need for relevant content. Advertisers must consider diverse demographics, as a one-size-fits-all approach may not appeal to all passengers. Additionally, passengers may choose to skip or ignore advertisements, as in-flight advertising does not guarantee undivided attention.

Thai Airways International has received several awards and recognitions over the years.

  • Skytrax World Airline Awards: Thai Airways has been recognized in various categories in the prestigious Skytrax World Airline Awards, including awards for cabin staff service, seat comfort, and airline lounges.
  • World Travel Awards: Thai Airways has been honored with awards in the World Travel Awards, where it often received recognition for its inflight entertainment and cabin services.

TTG Travel Hall of Fame and Best Inflight Service Awards at the 32nd TTG Travel Awards 2023 Ceremony and Gala Dinner at Centara Grand at CentralWorld

  • Environmental Initiatives: The airline has been recognized for its commitment to sustainability and environmental initiatives.

Relevant and non-intrusive advertising is crucial for enhancing the passenger experience while flying. Here are some key reasons why it’s important:


Firstly, non-intrusive in-flight advertising respects passenger space, ensuring a pleasant experience for those who value privacy and comfort while flying. 

Secondly, intrusive or disruptive advertising can irritate passengers, leading to a negative opinion of the airline and the advertising, ultimately affecting the overall enjoyment of the trip. 

Lastly, relevant advertising adds value to passengers’ journeys by offering information or deals that match their interests and needs. This type of advertising is more likely to be welcomed and appreciated.


Some anecdotes from passengers who have experience with flight advertising on Thai Airways even quote:

“We had a pleasant experience flying business class. The comfortable seats allowed us to get some good sleep during the 4-5-hour journey. The food was decent, and when we requested something hotter and tastier, a young female cabin crew member brought us a delicious Hot Tom Yum noodle with an onsen egg and shrimp ball. The breakfast served was also enjoyable. Overall, it was a very nice and enjoyable flight.” -review taken from TripAdvisor

“I could not have asked for a better economy flight experience. In-flight entertainment, food, customer service, cleanliness, and legroom were all great. I will be flying Thai Airways again.” review taken from TripAdvisor


“Room economy room with tailored ads. I’m usually not the type to watch ads, but the ones shown on my flight were really interesting.” review taken from TripAdvisor


Emerging trends in in-flight advertising and how Thai Airways might be able to adapt to these trends in the future:

Some emerging IFA trends are for example,

Interactive Content:

  • Airlines are exploring the use of AR and VR to provide immersive and interactive experiences for passengers. This includes virtual tours, interactive games, and trying out products virtually. For instance, passengers can use VR headsets to explore destinations or test seat configurations in a virtual cabin.
  • In-seat screens and mobile apps allow passengers to personalize their in-flight entertainment, browse goods and services, and place touchscreen orders for food and drinks. Airlines may also offer gamified activities and interactive city guides.


Personalized Marketing:

  • Airlines use data analytics and AI to understand passenger preferences and behaviors, enabling them to deliver targeted and personalized advertising content. 
  • Geolocation and beacon technology can provide personalized offers based on a passenger’s location within the aircraft, such as window seat passengers receiving offers for scenic tours upon arrival.

Thai Airways could enhance the passenger experience and boost revenue by investing in AR/VR technology. They could offer virtual tours of popular Thai destinations, allowing travelers to experience them before their trip.

They can also enhance in-seat screens or create a feature-rich mobile app. This would allow users to customize their shopping and entertainment experiences, including in-flight meal selection, seat choice, and access to a wide range of entertainment options. 


Thai Airways relies on in-flight entertainment (IFE) to improve the passenger experience while also generating additional revenue. Thai Airways employs IFE to attract customers, differentiate itself from competitors, and promote its brand. They provide a wide range of entertainment options as well as personalized content recommendations. In-flight advertising offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to reach a captive audience, but it must be relevant and non-intrusive. Thai Airways could improve in-seat screens, invest in AR/VR technology, or create a feature-rich mobile app to improve the passenger experience and increase revenue.

We’d love to hear from you! Whether you flew with Thai Airways or any other airline such as EVA, Garuda, or Vietnam Airlines, we want to hear from you. Did you find the ads engaging or annoying? Your feedback matters as in-flight advertising continues to evolve. Join the conversation and share your thoughts on this aspect of air travel by,

contacting The Perfect Media



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