In-flight entertainment (IFE) refers to the entertainment available to aircraft passengers during a flight. In 1936, the airship Hindenburg offered passengers a piano, lounge, dining room, smoking room, and bar during the 2½ day flight between Europe and America. After the Second World War, IFE was delivered in the form of food and drink services, along with an occasional projector movie during lengthy flights. In 1985 the first personal audio player was offered to passengers, along with noise cancelling headphones in 1989 During the 1990s the demand for better IFE was a major factor in the design of aircraft cabins. Before then, the most a passenger could expect was a movie projected on a screen at the front of a cabin, which could be heard via a headphone socket at his or her seat.
The largest manufacturers of IFE systems are Panasonic Avionics Corporation, Thales Group, Rockwell Collins and LiveTV. Design issues for IFE include system safety, cost efficiency, software reliability, hardware maintenance, and user compatibility.
The in-flight entertainment onboard airlines is frequently managed by content service providers.