Corporate Traveler

Three Major U.S. Airlines Now Offer Free In-Flight Entertainment

16 Aug 2016

In-flight entertainment is no longer only a luxury option for travelers looking to enhance their in-flight experience.

Competition among U.S. carriers continues. Delta became the first major U.S. airlines to set the standard with their announcement early June to rid of in-flight entertainment fees altogether. Delta passengers now have the option of streaming the impressive media library on seat-back screens or via personal mobile devices on all flights that are equipped with Wi-Fi or seat-back screens. Delta Studio, the company’s media library features an extensive list of 400 movies including foreign films, 750 TV shows, 2,400 songs and 18 channels of satellite TV.

United became the second airline to offer free in-flight entertainment for fliers on all flights not long after Delta’s announcement. American Airlines recently joined in on the perks with their announcement of free in-flight entertainment for customers. Passengers on flights equipped with Wi-Fi can watch all entertainment for free, including premium content via their seatback screens or stream through their own personal devices using the airline app.

New innovations in communications allowed these three major airlines to give away entertainment easier. With Wi-Fi now installed in the majority of mainline U.S. aircraft, onboard severs can inexpensively distribute content, and the growth of mobile, personal screens has made it easier for consumers to stream it. With incremental costs low, it was an easy perk to give away and create relative value.

The airlines previously offered select content free of charge while new-release movies and premium shows would cost $4 to $8. These three major airlines already have implemented free in-flight entertainment on international flights however it is about time that airlines followed suit with domestic flights.

Now that all three carriers give away in-flight entertainment, however, competition may turn to content instead of cost.

With in-flight entertainment now standard when flying Delta, United or American Airlines, the pressure of competition will move towards quality of content. United is already focusing on ensuring entertainment remains competitive, the airline featured live streaming of the Olympics in Rio. Carriers such as JetBlue have been pushing partnerships with the likes of Amazon Prime for months to get ahead in the entertainment sector of travel.

Fortunately, fliers can look forward to more perks to open up eventually as innovation in communications continue and competition remains strong.