The carrier said it won’t feature seat-back video screens on the Boeing Co. aircraft because almost all travelers now carry mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Satellite-based systems have improved on-board internet speed and access, which will enhance the viewing experience, the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline said.
“More than 90 percent of our passengers already bring a device or screen with them when they fly,” American told workers Tuesday in a message. “Those phones and tablets are continually upgraded, they’re easy to use and, most importantly, they are the technology our customers have chosen.”
The move marks a reversal for Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker, who said less than a year ago that American would have seat-back screens on all of its planes to remain competitive. The carrier this year will receive the first four of its 100 Max aircraft. A decision hasn’t been made on whether to extend the policy to other new planes.
Video screens will remain on planes used for international flights, American’s three-class Airbus SE A321T and some single-aisle planes used for specific flights.
Movies and television shows in American’s on-board library and live television can be viewed on devices at no charge, the airline said. Satellite connections to use the Internet, text or access on-demand video will be available for a fee from gate to gate.
Plans call for American to have satellite-based Wi-Fi on half its single-aisle fleet by the summer of 2018, with full installation by the end of 2019. Half the domestic narrow-body fleet will have power at every seat by the end of 2018.
(Mary Schlangenstein - Bloomberg Business News)