This month, American Airlines became the latest major commercial airline to announce that all of its in flight entertainment systems — from movies to music and TV shows to gaming — will soon be free of charge for all passengers.
Delta Airlines was the latest company to make a move to free entertainment access back in June, and United soon followed suit. By then, American Airlines had virtually no choice but to join its competitors in the in flight entertainment arms race.
Previously, offering games and new-release movies at an additional cost was a common way for airline companies to generate an additional stream of revenue, just like checked baggage, additional snacks, or seat selection. However, it’s become increasingly expected among consumers to have access to digital entertainment at all times.
Aircraft interior products commonly include everything from in seat USB power to airplane displays of flight conditions and weather, keeping consumers connected and informed at 30,000 feet. It’s only natural that free in flight entertainment systems would become the next greatest demand.
According to a 2013 air travel survey from TripAdvisor, 37% of travelers consider iPads and tablets an essential carry-on item, and 25% of people would choose one airline over another if it offered WiFi service.
Moreover, 41% of airline passengers like to watch movies on in flight entertainment systems while they fly. American, Delta, and United are all trying to improve their customer relations and satisfaction by giving them the services they need, whenever they need it.
“American is further investing in and personalizing how our customers travel by giving them the most in-flight entertainment options onboard our aircraft,” said the airline’s vice president Fernand Fernandez.
Now that all three airlines offer complimentary in flight entertainment systems, the battle for customer loyalty may come down to quality of both content and picture. Improving and upgrading IFE monitors as well as offering a variety of other entertainment options could make a huge difference in customer experience.
With these improved services, every customer can make the most out of their flying time. It’s never been easier to stay connected, even at 30,000 feet.