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American Airlines has announced that it has switched on free in-flight live TV on 100 of its domestic aircraft and that it plans to roll out the service across its 700+ strong narrow-body fleet during 2019.
American is using DISH as its provider and is offering 12 live channels that passengers can stream on their devices free of charge. here’s the channel listing:
- Disney Channel
- NFL Network
The airline says that the service is available “from gate to gate” and can be selected from the entertainment choices offered when customers use their devices to log in to American’s in-flight entertainment network.
Here’s what American has had to say:
Free live TV is now available on more than 100 aircraft equipped with Gogo 2Ku high-speed Wi-Fi including all 48 Airbus A320s, which are receiving in-seat power during 2019. It is also available on more than 60 A319s, which have power outlets in every row.
I guess that’s a start.
There are a couple of issues here that need to be addressed.
Firstly, it should be noted that most of American’s domestic fleet doesn’t offer seat-back screens in the main cabin and the new aircraft being introduced don’t have them either. This means that the only people who will be able to make the most of this new service are those who travel with their own devices.
Note: if you’re traveling as a family I suggest investing in a headphone splitter so you don’t all have to have your own devices – that could get expensive.
Secondly, I’m not entirely convinced that this new service will be any good. The wi-fi I’ve experienced on American isn’t always all that stable and it’s not reliably speedy so it will be interesting to see how it holds up when three quarters of the passengers on an aircraft are trying to watch tv.
Still, Viasat wi-fi is considerably better than the wi-fi offered by GoGo and it looks like it will only be the Viasat equipped aircraft which will be offering live TV so that’s one small positive to take away.
Clearly the introduction of live TV will be good news for some passengers who like to keep up with their shows and sporting events when they fly….but I’ll wait to see just how well this works before I pass any further comment – my experience of watching live TV on a number of American’s wide-body aircraft left a lot to be desired so I’m not going to get excited about this news just yet.
Overall I have to confess that I don’t really care about being able to watch live TV on my flights. I bring my own entertainment with me on all my flights (pre-loaded on my devices) and I’d much prefer to see American concentrating on upgrading other aspects of its offering…like offering more leg room and offering reasonably sized lavatories.