In-flight entertainment systems raise safety issues

But more than a decade after the accident, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, which investigated the crash, says "work still remains to be done" on 18 of 23 recommendations it made to prevent another tragedy. Among other concerns, the board says action hasn't been taken to ensure all insulation materials are fireproof and establish a test to evaluate wiring failures under "realistic operating conditions."

Gail Dunham, executive director of the National Air Disaster Alliance & Foundation, questions whether safety is being compromised so that passengers can be entertained. The foundation, which is composed of many relatives of air crash victims, is part of an FAA safety advisory committee.

She says she's concerned that airlines are installing equipment before determining "accurately and scientifically if the wiring in those systems is absolutely safe."

Frequent flier Goltsch has similar concerns, but he likes "the bells and whistles" airlines are adding to planes. The entertainment makes the time go quicker, he says, especially on long overseas flights.

"However, if the new systems cause problems, leave them off the plane," he says. "A good book is also a fine way to pass the time onboard."

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