According to TripAdvisor’s Air Travel Survey, 37% of passengers considered an iPad or tablet to be a necessary addition to their carry-on luggage in 2013. Now, in an attempt to cut costs, American Airlines has decided to use the popularity of these tech gadgets to their advantage: the airline recently announced that they won’t be installing IFE monitors in their newest fleet of Boeing 737s.
American Airlines will still have in flight entertainment systems aboard their planes, but instead of airplane displays on seat backs, they’ll encourage passengers to use their own phones, laptops, and tablets to stream using the airline’s Wi-Fi.
While the airline says that passengers will be able to stream shows from its own library free of charge, they still have to pay for internet use if they want to stream media in-flight. Currently, that rings up to $16 plus tax for an all-day pass. Many flyers will note that this change to their IFE systems echoes the checked bags debacle: what used to be included in the cost of a ticket now involves an extra fee.
But while some passengers might not bat an eye at paying a few extra bucks for internet service, the fact is that this move excludes certain customers from the equation. It won’t be enough to afford the price of the ticket; if you want to watch something up in the air, you’ll have to be able to afford a device with streaming capabilities, too.
Although American Airlines is trying to follow the changing trends of their customer base, opting to eliminate aircraft display systems is a move that may frustrate and alienate many passengers. Not only does it exclude those who don’t own or don’t want to use such devices in flight, but if the vast majority of passengers are using Wi-Fi to stream, the speed and quality of those shows and movies will likely suffer.
If you want to provide consistently excellent entertainment in-flight, airplane displays are the only way to go. Eliminating IFE monitors will lead to unhappy customers who may not own or may not want to use their personal devices for the length of a flight. Most don’t want to deal with choppy internet or a drained battery. Our in flight entertainment systems ensure that travelers are satisfied and frustration-free. To find out more about our airplane display monitors and entertainment systems, please contact us today.