Cool mile-high tech: in-flight Ethernet and more!

The high-season is up, fuel surcharges are down and Aussie travellers are flying off on holidays. Here's the hottest in-flight tech that three of the airlines servicing Australia will be offering you.

  • Emirates first entered the scene in 1985 and soon introduced industry-leading in-flight entertainment. 2008 winners of the Best Overall IFE (In-flight entertainment) Avion award, it'll be flying Airbus A380s in and out of Australia from February. Emirates was one of the first airlines to allow passengers to switch on and use their own mobile phones to call and text the outside world. The airline says it hasn't received a single complaint about it throughout the roll-out.

  • The flagship Emirates lounge in Sydney provides visitors with 802.11b/g wireless networking, 10/100 Ethernet and 256Kbps Internet access. Other Emirates lounges can be found in Melbourne, Brisbane (shown here) and Perth with varying facilities.

  • Best of all for tech-enthusiasts are the power, RJ45 and USB ports available to every passenger in every class. One hundred movies on demand, 350 TV episodes and 500 audio CDs will be provided via the "iQ" system. First-class passengers can use 17in touch screen displays. Passengers in business-class (shown here) gets 12.1in touch screens and premium economy passengers will get the same 10.6in touch screen units used in international economy class. Sadly, only first- and business- class passengers will receive complimentary designer pyjamas.

  • Winners of the 2008 Avion award for in-flight entertainment in Asia and Australasia, Singapore Airlines was the first to fly the Airbus A380 commercially. First-class (shown here) passengers can expect 23in displays with native resolutions of 1280x768, as well as AC power and USB ports built into the seats. Business-class travellers get 15.4in screens. In economy class, you'll be using 10.6in screens. The entertainment system on a Singapore Airlines A380s weighs 3.45 tons!

  • If you're lucky or loaded enough to make it into one of Qantas' airport lounges (Sydney shown here), you can expect ADSL internet and Wi-Fi hotspots in all locations, with ADSL2+ in limited locations. 10/100 Ethernet connections are available, as are networked printers for business travellers on the go.

  • You can choose from 100 movies, 150 TV programs, 700 audio CDs and 22 audio programs as part of Singapore Airline's "Krisworld" entertainment system. Sun Microsystem's StarOffice platform will also allow users to modify spreadsheets, presentations and word documents from their seats.

  • All Emirates A380 passengers have the "ice" (information communications entertainment) system in their seat. Using a customised version of the Panasonic Avionics' eX2 package Emirates provides more than 700 audio channels, 100 TV channels and 190 movies. First-class passengers can enjoy 23in screens, business class gets 17in digital widescreen displays and economy-class (shown here) passengers will use 10.6in screens. First- and Business-class passengers will have access to a bar with a 42in LCD screen and even the two showers for first-class travellers have 15.4in displays.

  • Last, but not least, home-grown stalwart Qantas has been flying Airbus A380s to Los Angeles since late October 2008. It hasn't won an Avion award since 2006, but it looks to be in the running with its chic styling and unique extras — Qantas is currently the only airline offering in-flight Internet access to its passengers.

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