Airlines have long competed over who can offer the most comprehensive in-flight entertainment programs on long-distance flights. A wide selection of the latest movies, eBooks, music and games can help the journey fly by for international travelers. Now attention is shifting to shorter flights, and airlines are seeking browser- and app-based solutions that can be accessed through the passenger’s personal device, such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

For the launch of its brand new on-board entertainment platform Air Time, the UK’s largest airline, easyJet, has teamed up with Rakuten to provide a unique and engaging passenger experience above the clouds.

Rakuten will provide curated content through its businesses Rakuten TV, Rakuten Kobo and Rakuten Viber to over half a million easyJet customers.

Rakuten will provide curated content through its businesses Rakuten TV, Rakuten Kobo and Rakuten Viber to over half a million easyJet customers.

Beginning with five jets participating in a six-month pilot, Rakuten will provide curated content through its businesses Rakuten TV, Rakuten Kobo and Rakuten Viber to over half a million customers. If the trial is a success, 80 million easyJet passengers annually could soon be enjoying Rakuten content.

The initiative fits neatly into Rakuten’s ongoing branding initiatives, which include a partnership with famed European football club FC Barcelona. “The airline is one of the largest carriers in Europe, a key regional market where Rakuten offers more than 15 different services,“ said Arjen van de Vall, President of Rakuten Europe. “The easyJet brand also provides the ideal platform to foster customer engagement with existing members through our ecosystem.“

Content provided on the service by Rakuten TV includes critically acclaimed TV titles such as the superhero series “Legion,” comedy “Modern Family” and a range of family favorites and box office hits. Moreover, the content covers multiple languages including English, German, French, Spanish and Italian.

Andrew Middleton, easyJet’s Ancillary Revenue Director, explained the significance of the service to the airline. “We are delighted to be collaborating with innovative partners such as Rakuten, who will help us curate engaging content, and Immfly, who are providing the unique easyJet portal with a dedicated customer support team, ensuring that the easyJet crew are able to continue conducting an excellent standard of safety-focused service and on-board hospitality,” he said.