American Airlines Adds Streaming Live TV On Domestic Flights

American Airlines Adds Streaming Live TV On Domestic Flights

American Airlines has announced today that they’ve activated free live TV on their first 100 narrowbody aircraft, and they plan to extend live TV to their entire narrowbody fleet of over 700 aircraft by the end of 2019.

American already offers live TV on select international widebody aircraft, so it’s great to see them expand this to domestic narrowbody aircraft as well.

Live TV channels powered by DISH include Bravo, CBS, CNBC, CNN, Disney Channel, ESPN, FOX, NBC, NFL Network, Telemundo, TNT, and USA.

The catch is that much of American’s domestic fleet doesn’t have seatback televisions, and unlike the competition, American isn’t installing TVs on their newly delivered aircraft (the 737 MAX, which will become the backbone of their domestic fleet).

So this live TV will instead stream to customers’ personal devices, including laptops, phones, and tablets. The live TV will be available gate to gate, and complements their selection of hundreds of on-demand movies and TV shows.

I can’t help but laugh at this quote in the press release:

“Our customers have told us they want a living room experience in the air – the ability to watch free entertainment, stream their favorite shows on-demand, charge their phones and stay connected from start to finish during their travels. Free live TV on our mainline domestic fleet is the latest step in making that a reality, and it complements the live TV we offer on all of our international widebody flights today.”

LOL! Customers want a “living room experience in the air,” and American’s takeaway there is that this translates to live TV streaming to devices? How about decent legroom or an actual television, because last time I checked, that’s something most people have in their living rooms. 

Bottom line

For better or worse, the future of entertainment on American Airlines will be streaming entertainment to passengers’ own devices. American is shying away from installing seatback entertainment since it’s costly to install, adds to the weight of the aircraft, and has the potential to malfunction.

Personally I don’t care about entertainment one way or another as long as I have wifi onboard, though I know others feel differently.

Do you use streaming entertainment on flights? If so, do you prefer live TV, or on-demand movies and TV shows?


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