KLM, Air France say Apple iPod integration announcement premature

“Airline passengers will be able to connect their iPods to in-flight entertainment systems and watch their favorite videos without fear of running out of battery power while traveling on any of at least four major carriers, iPod maker Apple Computer Inc. said on Tuesday,” Paul Thomasch reports for Reuters.

“Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Dubai’s Emirates, and UAL Corp.’s United Airlines will begin offering their passengers iPod seat connections, which power and charge iPods during flight and allow the video content on the devices to be viewed on seat-back displays,” Thomasch reports.

Thomasch reports, “Apple said in its statement that Air France and KLM were also part of the agreement. However, those two airlines said it was premature to be definitive. ‘It’s way too early to confirm any such details,’ said an Air France spokeswoman, referring to the iPod seat connectivity and a mid-2007 availability date. ‘It’s very premature what Apple are saying,’ said a KLM spokesman, noting that there have been ‘informal contacts’ between Apple and the airline. ‘We have no idea if this is technically feasible, if it’s financially viable, or it customers want it,’ he said. ‘At this moment, we have absolutely no intention of introducing it on board.'”

Thomasch reports, “Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said: ‘Clearly we have had a miscommunication with AirFrance-KLM, but we are excited about announcing iPod integration with in-flight entertainment systems on Continental, Delta, Emirates and United today.'”

Full article here.
Pure speculation: Apple wanted to release something on “Zune Day” (probably just to poke a stick in Microsoft’s eye, but they could’ve just let the Zune reviews speak for themselves) and gave the press release clearance before Air France and KLM were fully on board. What do you think?

Related articles:
Apple teams with Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM & United to deliver iPod integration – November 14, 2006


  1. probably more the fact that these European carriers operate a little differently. Apple probably got the go ahead from the US side of the equation but when news traveled to HQ in Euroland the little French & Dutch marketng warriors brought out their cheese & loaded up the bong to make sure their American counterparts were kept in their place.

  2. Just one airline and as usual the French always have something negative to say, whatever. Apple is usually very careful about announcing anything new. Maybe the spokes person for airfrance wasn’t informed properly of the deal. Feasability wise, I can’t see why they wouldn’t be able to do it. It can’t be much different than installing it in a car.

  3. Almos every airline is better thatn france airlines, so what’s the point of
    ‘We have no idea if this is technically feasible, if it’s financially viable, or it customers want it,’
    It looks like they are the only one in the all world that does not that information.

  4. Apple isn’t afraid of the Zune in the slightest. We’re talking about one model (hitting one price point) vs 9 models designed to hit multiple price points. There’s iTunes with 3.5 million songs vs Zune Marketplace with 2.0 million songs. There iTunes with podcasts, audiobooks, TV shows and movies vs ehhh what was the other place?

    Then there’s the cache of iPod that hold 80% of an expanding market vs a new kid on the block

    If I were to guess, and I’m guessing, someone at Air France gave a verbal yes, and is now playing coy for better terms.

    Further I don’t think the timing of the release has anything to do with the Zune. Your average consumer doesn’t read this stuff, or fly these airlines that often for it to make a buying decision difference.

  5. “cheese and a bong”. I snorted my espresso and ruined another keyboard.

    As an international executive (who apparently is well paid and kind of doing nothing right now, because I’m posting to MDN), European companies have a different way of doing Press Releases. I’m sure Apple got clearance from Air France/KLM (and who are part of the SkyTeam network with Delta) for the release, but probably didn’t get clearance from the Air France/KLM Director of Corporate Nonsense. Not a big deal really.

  6. I don’t think it’s anti-European to speculate that there may be some politics involved in this “hold on now” announcement.

    After all, the governments of France and the Netherlands have been the most active in their stance against Apple’s proprietary FairPlay system.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if someone got a little phone call from the hand that feeds after Apple made the announcement…

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