12/01/2012 : UNDERCARRIAGE UP; CARDS IN THE AIR!
 
A new French take on the concept of in-flight gambling
 
A French business consortium is looking at ways in which in-flight gambling can be achieved, reports The Independent newspaper.
 
In-flight gambling per se is not a ground-breaking concept – Ryanair's scratchcard efforts have seen to that, but the French have apparently introduced a new and more ambitious scheme that improves the business prospects.
 
The “Casino Jet Lounge” proposed by the Toulouse-based firms, AirJet Designs and Designescence, represent “a new entertainment and social space designed for long-haul commercial flights” and will be targeted on the presumably more well-heeled First and Business Class passengers.
 
The concept features a bar-lounge area furnished with a real blackjack table. The idea is to bridge the gap between scheduled flights and private jets, providing, according to consortium material:  “A VIP-type concept with revenue-generating potential, bringing back the excitement and glamour associated with air travel in its heyday”.
 
“Casino Jet Lounge” has already constructed a typical configuration in the forward section of a Boeing 777, although the consortium points out that due to flight safety rules gambling will not be permitted during ascent, descent or spells of in-flight turbulence.
 
Aircraft industry experts say that card games are likely to have more appeal than games like roulette, because punters expect roulette tables to be perfectly balanced, something that is difficult to achieve consistently on a platform like a jet airliner.
 
Approached for comment by The Independent, British Airways said it had no plans to install such a flying casino. A spokesman pointed out that the airline already offers blackjack, roulette and poker games on its in-flight electronic entertainment system, but for fun rather than hard cash.
 
Virgin Atlantic said “We have no immediate plans to launch a casino but we have a few surprises up our sleeve for short-haul flights and our 787s”.
 
The newspaper also points out that a US law known as the Gorton Amendment prohibits “any gambling device” to be fitted to jets using American airspace.