Christine Ringger ensures that you’re well entertained aloft. And she works flat out on the ground to make it all happen.
If you want to keep up with Christine Ringger, you’ll need to be quick. With her red hair and her fiery look, she talks fast and thinks even faster. And while you’re still ruminating over the last thing she’s said, she’ll already be another two topics ahead. She perpetually has one foot in the future – partly through her nature, and partly for her job. Because Christine is responsible for the SWISS In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) and its guide. So in a world in which everything can change from one day to the next, she has to make decisions that can have ramifications for months and even years. “Nothing stays still in this business,” she says. “So if you’re not moving, you’re falling behind.”
The IFE programme is valid for the whole SWISS fleet on intercontinental flights, offers over 100 films and 140 TV programmes and is constantly updated. The SWISS IFE range further extends to audio playlists, CDs, podcasts and games. For many passengers, though, it’s the movies that, like the SWISS chocolate, are the highlight of the flight. Many of the films shown on board are not yet in the cinemas in the customer’s home country. The edge here is provided by special licences that permit airlines to show movies aloft three months after they start in the US cinemas. Every film offered on your SWISS monitor today will also have a long journey behind it already, all the way from the movie studio via Christine’s own reviewing screen.
Christine has loved movies since before she can remember. And under her stewardship the SWISS IFE Guide has developed into a portal that strikes a fine balance between blockbusters and art-house productions. She’s also keen to ensure that the selection of titles enables Switzerland to present its film and its culture to a broader world. Almost every film in the programme will have been previewed by Christine. “At home in my free time,” she adds. “It’s a good job, I love what I do!” But when it comes to deciding which films to bring on board, she leaves her personal preferences behind, and asks herself tough objective questions: Will our customers enjoy this? What did the critics say? Is Switzerland fairly presented here?
If she’s convinced of the quality of a candidate in-flight item, Christine will go to almost any lengths to secure it. For six months last year, for instance, the SWISS IFE programme included the “Tellspiele”, a production of the classic Swiss drama tale. Christine had seen it in the theatre, and had loved it so much that she wrote to the producers and procured a film version for SWISS passengers aloft. Her eyes still sparkle when she tells the story today. “The production crew could hardly believe it,” she recalls. But the unusual choice proved a sizeable success, and what seemed a niche product was watched over 1,000 times each month.
The SWISS IFE Guide is fully digital today (swiss-inflightentertainment.com). Christine Ringger sees this, too, as a success: Instead of having to pay constant regard to printing deadlines, she is now freer in her content choice, and can also incorporate the latest film and TV items. But even with the new system, her office is rarely quiet. Our interview concluded, she’s off again at once. In Christine Ringger’s world, there’s no time for standing still: You need to keep moving if you want to stay ahead!
Text: Roberta Fischli / Photos: Claudia Link