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Seat-back entertainment is expensive, it’s heavy, and, when it doesn’t work, it’s been known to drive passengers and crew members nuts. But, for JetBlue, at the very least, it’s here to stay. As legacy carriers like American and United move to replace seat-back screens with streaming entertainment, JetBlue has committed to offer both — on all of its domestic and international planes.
JetBlue is currently in the process of retrofitting its entire Airbus A320 fleet, adding high-definition touchscreen displays, on-demand entertainment and 100+ channels of DirecTV. Going forward, the airline’s new aircraft will offer similar seat-back solutions, including A321neos and all incoming Airbus A220s — which we may even see operate long transcon flights.
So, how do other top US carriers fare?
- American Airlines doesn’t even offer seat-back entertainment in business class on some planes.
- Delta, for one, continues to offer screens, including a slick new seat-back streaming solution on its A220 fleet.
- United’s latest narrow-body aircraft don’t offer seat-back entertainment, though most long-haul international planes do.
- Alaska, sadly, is now even working through the process of removing seat-back screens from its ex-Virgin Airbus fleet.
Recently, I’ve begun traveling with an iPad Pro — I’ve become addicted to Netflix’s offline mode, and with the gate-to-gate Wi-Fi now available on some planes, having a tablet means I can get work done during boarding, taxi and takeoff, too. Still there’s no denying the appeal of a seat-back screen — especially one with 100+ channels of live DirecTV, or free high-definition movies that I’d otherwise have to buy.
Featured image by Zach Honig/TPG
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