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American will offer top-notch inflight entertainment with Bluetooth connectivity on its newest jets

Dec. 14, 2021
3 min read
A rendering of an American Airlines A321XLR plane flying through the sky
American will offer top-notch inflight entertainment with Bluetooth connectivity on its newest jets
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The newest jets that will soon join the American Airlines fleet are already getting a serious upgrade.

The Fort Worth-based carrier unveiled plans on Monday to offer top-notch inflight entertainment systems on its new Airbus A321XLR and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner jets.

American is partnering with Thales, one of the leading providers of inflight entertainment systems, to equip every seat — including those in coach — with seat-back screens and other high-tech enhancements.

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The headline is that every plane will feature 4K high dynamic range (HDR) monitors from nose to tail. These screens are poised to offer some of the best picture quality you’ll find in the sky.

Business-class seats will be equipped with 17-inch displays, as well as an oversized 5-inch touchscreen handset, which will allow you to stream two programs at once. For instance, you could keep the airshow running on the handset while watching a movie or TV show on the big screen.

Premium economy and coach seats will feature 13.3-inch displays and 11.6-inch displays, respectively.

New narrowbody coming: American orders 50 of Airbus’s new long-range A321XLR

In addition to the high-quality displays at each seat, American is bringing Bluetooth connectivity to its inflight entertainment system. This means that you’ll be able to connect your AirPods and other Bluetooth-enabled headphones to the monitor — without any dongles.

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This is a feature that first debuted on United’s new Boeing 737 MAX 8 earlier this year, and it’s become a flyer-favorite in just a few short months.

Finally, each seat will offer a USB-A and USB-C charging port, as well as a universal AC power outlet.

All told, American’s latest investment in inflight entertainment will further its reputation for offering an inconsistent onboard experience as it takes delivery of its newest jets.

Cabin overhaul: American has finished adding seats to its Boeing 737 fleet — and the Airbus A321s are just a step behind

That’s because the carrier has been removing seat-back monitors from most of its domestic fleet, doubling down on streaming content to personal devices.

As for the new planes getting the enhanced IFE, American has 50 Airbus A321XLRs on order. The new A321XLR variant – the “XLR” stands for “extra long range” – has a range of up to 5,400 miles, and American will likely deploy this jet in transatlantic markets.

The airline already flies the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, but it’s planning to take delivery of five new -9s (along with some new -8s) in the coming years.

Snazzy to the MAX: Putting United’s newest cabin to the test

While we now have details of the inflight entertainment system, we still don’t know what seats American will install on its newest jets. Hopefully, they’ll also be industry leading.

Featured image by A rendering of an American A321XLR. (Photo courtesy of Airbus)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
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