Thomas Cook airlines is to rent Playstation Portable (PSP) devices on board its planes, in another move that suggests the future of in-flight entertainment may be on handheld devices.

The UK-based charter airline announced June 14 that it will provide PSPs, preloaded with eight films, seven TV shows and games for rental on its short and medium haul flights.

The devices will cost £7.50 (€9) per flight and will be available on 32 of the 44 aircraft operated by Thomas Cook, along with headphone splitters to allow passengers to share movies.

With Thomas Cook airlines CEO Ian Derbyshire explaining that only one in ten passengers used the older in-flight entertainment system, the decision to use handheld devices is a further signal that airlines may soon move away from the traditional seat-back display model.

Last month, Australian airline Jetstar announced that it would offer the new iPad tablet devices on internal flights, at a cost of AUD10 (€6.85) per flight on domestic services, before rolling the trial out to international services later in 2010.

Passengers will be able to watch preloaded music videos, movies or TV programs, read e-books, listen to music or play games on the iPads.

Bluebox Avionics, which provides the technology that powers the Jetstar iPads, believes that new innovations in consumer technology are the future of in-flight entertainment, given that the technology in today’s handheld and high street devices has now "leapfrogged the once state-of-the-art systems produced by the long-established manufacturers."