American Airlines says its forthcoming new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will be delivered without seat-back video, leaving passengers to use their own personal devices for inflight entertainment.
It says it won’t feature seat-back video screens on the Boeing aircraft because almost all travellers now carry mobile phones, tablets and laptops. It added that satellite-based systems have improved on-board internet speed and access, which will enhance the viewing experience.
The airline said: “We know in-flight entertainment is important to our customers, which is why we’ve committed to offering free, streaming high-quality movies and music, and to investing in fast satellite-based internet access and power at every seat across our domestic fleet.
“More than 90% of our passengers already bring a device or screen with them when they fly. Those phones and tablets are continually upgraded, they’re easy to use, and most importantly they are the technology that our customers have chosen. So it makes sense for American to focus on giving customers the best entertainment and fast connection options rather than installing seatback monitors that will be obsolete within a few years.”
Passengers with personal electronic devices and Wi-Fi will be able to watch free movies and TV shows from an extensive on-board library, as well as free live television channels, without purchasing an in-flight internet connection.
There will be payment to get online, but passengers will then will be able to access high-speed, satellite-based internet to stream Netflix, Amazon, and other video-on-demand, as well as text and browse the web.
Both the free streaming library as well as satellite internet connections will work gate-to-gate.
AA says it is committed to seat-back screens on its wide-bodies and some of its narrow-bodies used for specific flights, as well as its Boeing 777s, 787s, Airbus A330s, and A350s, which begin arriving next year.
The airline is also committed to seat-back screens on its three-class A321s, and 40 current-generation B737s which will be delivered this year with power at every seat.
By the summer of 2018, AA will have completed installation of the faster satellite-based Wi-Fi on half of its narrow-bodies, with all completed by the end of 2019.
Bloomberg reported in November that American Airlines plans to install fast Ka-band Wi-Fi on 500 more aircraft in its domestic fleet, bolstering an earlier order for ViaSat.
American has more than 1,100 aircraft with inflight connectivity.