Have Portable DVD Will TravelI was ticked off when I arrived at the airport last week. My return flight had been entered by mistake and I was forced to leave the 2004 PalmSource Developer’s Conference a day early. It was a great conference and I was sorry that I had to leave so early. With airport security being so tight, I needed to ensure that I arrived in plenty of time to catch my plane. The 12:20pm flight I was taking was the last one Northwest offers out of San Jose. Sitting at the gate finishing up my early lunch, I looked at my watch and noticed that I had about an hour before the plane boarded. With an hour before boarding and 6 hours of flight time I was looking at a LOT of time on my hands. Coupled with the time was my feeling of exhaustion. The concentrated time I spent at PalmSource left me feeling overwhelmed. Normally I work on the plane, but my brain was fried. A little pissed and a lot tired I was wondering what was I going to do with all this time?

InMotion Pictures To The Rescue!

I had seen InMotion Pictures kiosks in several airports, but I’d never really investigated them, so with an hour to kill, I decided to take a peek and see what the deal was. The concept is pretty simple, you can rent DVD movies and DVD players from a kiosk, watch the movie on your plane and simply drop of the movie and/or player and your next destination. And the price is reasonable too. The basic player rents for $12 and includes one movie; additional movies are $4. If you have a DVD player, then movie rentals are $5.

Portable DVD players are nothing new, but I’ve never really seen a reason to own one. Yes they are nice, but I don’t often find myself with a lot of time on my hands and nothing to do. The only time that I consistently find myself with some time on my hands is when I fly, but I’m already carrying enough technology, I don’t need to contend with yet another device. However, by the time I’ve checked my baggage and I’m ready to board the plane, having one additional small bag is no big deal. Besides, InMotion is responsible for making sure that the batteries are charged (they give you two just in case), that the movie is playable, and that everything works. InMotion Pictures is a brilliant concept because all of the things that make bringing a device with me too much of a burden have been solved! 😀

I rented T3 and Once Upon A Time In Mexico and the basic player and returned to my gate to wait. Putting on the headphones and firing up T3 I was whisked out of the dreary airport terminal and into a world of excitement and adventure. The time just flew by as I got about halfway through the film. Soon it was time to board and take off. 20 minutes later I was at cruising altitude and able to start the player again. Good thing too, because there were at least three crying babies on board; I’m not kidding; and the plane was near capacity, so this was NOT going to be a fun four hour flight.

Turning back on the movie, all the pain and suffering that the other passengers were experiencing was lost on me. I finished T3 (3 out of 5 stars 3 out of 5 stars) and popped in Once Upon A Time In Mexico (2 out of 5 stars 2 out of 5 stars). Even though the movie wasn’t all that good, it was certainly better than the alternative of not having a movie to watch. By the time the last movie was over, there was only 30 minutes left in the major leg of my flight. The babies had cried themselves to sleep and the rest of the passengers seemed fixed to their seats. They were like the slave rowers of a galley ship. Chained to their seats rowing for the long haul as the slave masters, ahem, I mean flight attendants, walked the galley. OK, maybe I spent too long watching movies. 🙂

When I arrived in Minneapolis, I spotted the kiosk on my way to the gate of my connecting flight. In 30 seconds they had me checked in and on my way. The total cost for the two movies and player rental set me back around $17 with tax. In my opinion, it was well worth it. As I boarded the last leg of my flight, I was relaxed and rested and was able to focus once again on work. Being able to lose my self in a movie was all that I needed to clear my head.

I can’t see renting a movie for a short flight, but for longer or cross-country flights, I can’t see traveling any other way. InMotion Pictures takes all the chore out of the experience of watching a DVD on a plane and leaves you with the simple enjoyment of sitting back and enjoying the show. If nothing else, it can be a life saver should you find yourself on a nightmare flight.