Update Your United App This Weekend if You Stream Movies on Your Phone In-Flight

Aug 10, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Travelers who use flight time to catch up on movies and TV shows should update the United app on their iPhones and iPads this weekend. The airline announced an upcoming app update on Tuesday, August 13, stating that older versions of the United app would no longer support personal device entertainment after that date.

Airlines began offering personal device in-flight entertainment several years ago, when the relentless onslaught of technology updates made it cost-ineffective to keep aircraft refreshed with the latest software and hardware updates. Instead, carriers opted to phase out seat back screens in favor of offering free movies, TV shows, music, meditation apps and more, directly to their customers’ cellphones, iPads and laptops.

Are travelers missing out on the quintessential in-flight movie experience by not having access to built-in seat back screens? Most likely not. According to the Pew Research Center, 96% of Americans now own cellphones in 2019. Smartphone owners make up 81% of the adult population, up a staggering 56% from the same statistics from 2011. And some carriers such as Alaska Airlines are beginning to retrofit their existing aircraft with seat back ledges designed specifically to support tablets and cellphones at optimal viewing height.

Personal device entertainment technology does mean, however, that the responsibility for in-flight amusement rests squarely on the traveler’s shoulders. Customers who forget to charge their cellphones, update their airline apps or otherwise lack access to a Wi-Fi enabled device will have to resort to old-school methods of keeping themselves occupied for the duration of the flight. So #firstworldproblem as it may be, we highly recommend following United’s advice and updating your app before your next trip.

TPG reached out to United for additional insight, but had not received a response as of the time of publication.

Featured photo by Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.