For major airlines, it’s getting harder and harder to compete with budget airlines. People are simply giving the first hand to cheaper tickets, not thinking about the service…

While in-flight entertaining displays are firmly entrenched aboard long-haul fleets, helping pass the hours during ocean crossings, there’s a deep difference of opinion among U.S. carriers when it comes to domestic single-aisle jets.

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The advent of onboard Wi-Fi has given airlines the option of using your phone or tablet as a portal for films, television shows, and video games, avoiding the expense of costly hardware at every seat.

American Airlines, United Airlines, and Alaska Air  — are removing screens from their domestic workhorses, the family of medium-range 737 and A320 aircraft sold by Boeing and Airbus.. Southwest Airlines has never equipped it’s Boeing 737’s with screens and said it has no plans to change course.

Meanwhile, Delta and JetBlue are saying that seatback screens with audio-video on demand will lure domestic travelers.

The split gets evident internationally. In Europe screens on a single-aisle fleet are rare, but very popular in Asia.

The reason for replacing the seatback screen is, of course, the smartphone. Onboard streaming services are seen by some airlines as an obvious way to trim expenditures. But for others, that sinking feeling passengers get when they realize there’s no screen in front of them presents a marketing opportunity.

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50% of American’s passengers bring two devices with them.

As a result, power outlets and larger overhead bins are the items that rank highest when American polls passengers on their priorities.

For those airlines sticking with seatback screens, it’s not just about satisfying passengers who still expect one. JetBlue is also offering broadband Wi-Fi for free while Delta is working to offer that amenity as early as next year. So why have both? The airlines argue that passengers want to replicate their “two-screen” home experience of simultaneously watching television or a movie while browsing the web.

“Just because you are in a tube in the air, it doesn’t mean you need to stop your life as it is on the ground,” said Mariya Stoyanova, JetBlue’s director of product development. “We give back control to you similar to what you have in your living room.”

American and United have retained seatback screens on some of their domestic flights. Lucrative routes flown by some single-aisle aircraft between New York and Los Angeles or San Francisco will keep them. United has also kept screens on more than 200 Boeing 737s.

 

Perhaps some Airlines will get equipped by fully free unlimited Wi-Fi onboard?
So people can do their daily scroll during the flights.

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Shopping for shoes or groceries at 40,000 feet “will become perfectly normal,” said Mike Pigott, senior vice president of aviation connectivity at Global Eagle Entertainment Inc.

Soon there may be a way for you to spend money in-flight and not get anything at all – Online gambling.

Gaming via video screens is an amenity that, one day, maybe coming in for a landing, predicts Jason Rabinowitz, who tracks airline amenities, an aviation data company. “We haven’t seen it yet but you could definitely do it,” he said, assuming regulators sign off.

 

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