American made a big announcement today (first seen on the Runway Girl blog): when it receives its first delivery of the new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft later this year they have elected to get rid of seatback video screens.
WAIT WAIT, before you jump to the conclusion that this is bad, hear me out. American is not getting rid of in-flight entertainment. Instead, they will have streaming entertainment options that you can access via your personal device for free, similar to what they already offer on many jets.
Wait, so is this good or bad?
I personally LOVE the news. Seatback screens for in-flight entertainment are nice, sure, but what isn’t nice are those enormohuge boxes underneath every seat that contain the power supply and who knows what else to support the screens. They cramp my footroom and actually slow down boarding because people end up having to put more things in the overhead bin instead of being able to fit items underneath the seat in front of them. From American’s standpoint this was probably an easy decision as well, since screens and power boxes add a lot of weight to an aircraft, which impacts fuel efficiency in the air.
For me it’s great news for a few reasons:
- I usually travel with at least 2 devices, sometimes as many as 4
- Aaaand that’s about it really
American will have next-gen in-flight wifi on the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft as well, which should provide ground-like speeds when you want to connect to the broader internet (you won’t have to pay for internet access to watch the in-flight entertainment options). Basically if you give me expanded footroom, live TV, power at every seat, and a bunch of movies I can watch for free, I’m going to be pretty happy!
What do you think about the new streaming in-flight entertainment solution? Do you prefer the old seatback screen instead? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!