Wellington, May 26 : Electronic products manufacturer Panasonic has developed seat-back screens that would allow passengers on board an aeroplane "text chat" with others.
The new in-flight entertainment system will initially be fitted to 18 of Air New Zealand's A320 and Boeing 767 aircraft by the end of the year.
Mark Street, a spokesman for Air New Zealand, however, has made it clear that the airline did not have any plans to turn on that facility just yet.
"It is something we will evaluate down the track. It does raise some questions as to whether you really want to be bugged by the person in seat '5b' behind you," stuff.co.nz quoted him as saying.
The new system will be equipped with powerful communication features that may provide passengers with facilities like access to e-mail, web surfing, and multiplayer games inside the aircraft.
Currently, the inflight system can support iPods that can play back music and videos, and be charged through the Panasonic system.
Interestingly, it will also enable passengers to order drinks and duty free items as well as make menu choices from their seats.
"The system provides us with a range of additional options should we wish to use them, including this feature," said Matthew Wood, Air New Zealand inflight entertainment manager.
He, however, admits that there present cabin set-up is not viable for incorporating the new system.