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American Airlines is in the process of revolutionizing its fleet — both in good ways and bad. One way that the world’s largest airline is continually making passenger-friendly strides is in Wi-Fi connectivity and in-flight entertainment.
Whether it’s on seat-back screens or streaming entertainment to your own device from AA’s free Wi-Fi-enabled entertainment library, AA flyers already have hundreds of movies and TV shows to choose from to pass the flight — including five channels of live TV (such as CNN International, BBC, Sport24) on its international aircraft.
New Live TV Channels
This Thursday, AA took another large step forward by adding 12 channels of live TV to more than 100 of its aircraft. Powered by DISH, the following channels are now live:
- Disney Channel
- NFL Network
Which AAircraft Have Live TV Now
These 12 channels are live now on most of AA’s Gogo 2Ku enabled aircraft. American Airlines is installing Wi-Fi antennas at a pace of 10 aircraft per week, so the numbers are going to change rapidly. As of today, you’ll find these live TV channels on 108 of the airline’s legacy-US Airways (“LUS”) domestic fleet:
- Airbus A319 (LUS sub-fleet): 60 out of 93 (65%)
- Airbus A320: 48 out of 48 (100%)
Although 5 of the 10 Boeing 757s used for flights to/from Hawaii currently have Gogo 2Ku installed, an AA spokesperson confirmed that these aircraft will not offer live TV.
The catch? You’re going to have to “BYOP” (Bring Your Own Power) on some aircraft. While AA has installed satellite-based Wi-Fi and can stream thousands of hours of entertainment to your device on its Airbus A320s, these aircraft still haven’t been retrofit with in-seat power. In its press release on the addition of the new live TV channels the airline confirms that these A320s “are receiving in-seat power during 2019.” All AA Airbus A319s currently have power at every seat.
Next Aircraft to Get Live TV
These 108 aircraft are just the beginning for AA’s new live TV options. By the end of 2019, AA plans to have these 12 channels of DISH-powered live TV — as well as high-speed satellite-based Wi-Fi — on more than 700 of its narrowbody aircraft.
The next aircraft to these live TV options will be the 33 Airbus A319s (in the legacy US Airways sub-fleet) that are next in line to receive Gogo 2Ku antenna installations. Live TV will be available on these aircraft as these installations are completed. Once all of the Gogo 2Ku installations are complete, a total of 141 aircraft will have these 12 channels of live TV.
Then, in 2019, American Airlines plans to add live TV to its ViaSat-enabled aircraft. AA is installing ViaSat on the vast majority of its domestic fleet:
- Airbus A319 (legacy AA aircraft): 32 aircraft
- Airbus A321: 219 aircraft
- Boeing 737-800: 304 aircraft
- Boeing 737 MAX 8: all 14 aircraft have been delivered with ViaSat installed
As of a presentation that AA did just this week, the airline still plans to complete all of these Wi-Fi installations by the end of June 2019:
At this point, there doesn’t seem to be a firm date of when the ViaSat-enabled aircraft are going to be able to get live TV. The press release on the addition of these new channels only references a vague 2019 timeline: “American will add free live TV to aircraft equipped with Viasat high-speed Wi-Fi, bringing both of these features to American’s long-term mainline narrowbody fleet during 2019.” We followed up with an American Airlines spokesperson, who could only confirm that ViaSat aircraft would receive the new live TV channels sometime in 2019.
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