American Airlines sent out a press release this morning that I found rather confusing. It begins,
American Airlines is putting entertainment options in the hands of more customers by launching its streaming video service on more than 200 additional aircraft in its domestic mainline fleet.
They go on to talk about ‘seat-back video’ and ‘streaming’ together. American isn’t going to add seat back video to their fleet of MD80s with early generation gogo internet, those planes are on the way out. American’s new A319s and A321s come equipped with seat back video already. The new 737s entering the fleet do as well.
Here’s the new American interior standard for domestic narrowbodies:
The press release gets even more confusing, talking about not just streaming and seat back but even throwing in overhead entertainment.
- Best I can tell what they’re really saying in the release is that legacy US Airways Airbus A319, A320, and A321 aircraft will get streaming video.
He also noted that putting movies on airplanes makes no sense anymore, since everyone has their own entertainment. He could see streaming it to individuals’ players, but not installing equipment at each seat.
For once I actually agree with Doug Parker. I don’t get it.
- I have my own device. And I bring my own entertainment.
- It’s unlikely that American will curate entertainment I’m more likely to watch than what I preload myself. Serendipity is great but it rarely seems to offer superior alternatives.
- What are the 6 free movies they’re offering to stream through June 30? Big Hero 6, Captain America, Frozen, Guardians of the Galaxy, Into The Woods, Maleficent.
They’re installing streaming video, which makes some sense compared to expensive boxes at each seat. But even then I’m not clear on the value add.
I’m interested in what readers think here because with all of the investment that airlines make in video on demand, they’re clearly seeing something that I do not.
Airlines have limited resources to invest in inflight experience. Entertainment options are at the very bottom of my list.
What I want is the timetable to install Main Cabin Extra seating in legacy US Airways aircraft. The US Airways inflight product is weak and I do my best to avoid it on all but the shortest flights.
I may get upgraded as an Executive Platinum member, but if I don’t they do not offer extra legroom coach seating. (Their first class seat pitch is reminiscent of old Northwest DC9s, but it’s better than coach.)
Much more important than inflight entertainment is:
- Inflight internet, which US Airways was late to, but eventually adopted — not because they thought it would make money on its own but because they saw people booking away from US Airways since they didn’t have it.
- Power ports, which US Airways actually removed from their domestic narrowbody fleet when they merged with America West. Inflight power is coming back.
- Even meals, which admittedly is something American is improving (relative to what they’ve offered the past 8 months, although not compared to what they offered previously).
Does inflight entertainment matter? How come?