Now You See It, Now You Don’t- Seatback Screens Disappearing

By | January 26, 2017

As things go in  an industry that has been slow to change, seatback screens for in flight entertainment are a relatively new innovation. Yet their days are already numbered. Claiming that 90% of passengers have a screen of their own, American Airlines has chosen to remove the displays from 737MAX planes it will be receiving later this year. For the time being, the company will keep screens on wide body aircraft used primarily for international routes.

“Every customer with a phone, tablet or laptop will be able to watch free movies and TV shows from our extensive on-board library, as well as free live television channels, all without purchasing an in-flight Internet connection,” American said in a memo sent to employees Tuesday.

“It makes sense for American to focus on giving customers the best entertainment and fast connection options rather than installing seatback monitors that will be obsolete within a few years,” the airline said.
United has begun to move in the same direction, choosing not to include the displays in newly ordered planes.  At the same time, American is working to upgrade its fleet by adding power outlets to most seats by the end of 2019.
What do you think? Are seatback screens a useful feature on aircraft? Is your personal screen a good replacement? What device do you find easiest to use in a cramped airline seat?

2 thoughts on “Now You See It, Now You Don’t- Seatback Screens Disappearing

  1. Jon

    Call me old fashioned but I like having their screen and their entertainment. If they go this route, having outlets for power is critical

    1. The Infrequent Flier Post author

      Old fashioned? In my day, all you got was a deck of playing cards!

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