American Airlines is out with two announcements this morning that will make travel a little bit easier in the sky.
First, they’ll be offering live TV on all long-haul international flights. It’ll be free, compliments of a partnership with MasterCard:
We’re expanding our complimentary entertainment offerings on domestic flights with in-seat entertainment. Now you can choose from up to 40 movies, 60 TV shows and more than 300 albums, on us.
You can watch complimentary live TV, presented by MasterCard®, on all long-haul international flights with Wi-Fi. Enjoy four channels – including live sports – in all cabins. We’re the first U.S. carrier to offer complimentary international live TV.
Quoting further from the AA website:
Never miss a play with live streaming TV from Sport24. Enjoy your favorite sports, from the NFL and EPL to Formula One racing and the US Open. You can also catch programs on BBC World, CNBC and CNN. Live options are presented by MasterCard® on select planes and routes.
Based on the text of the announcement, this service is being provided by Panasonic. I saw a presentation on the Live TV service they offer at the APEX show late last year. It was definitely interesting, though sports fans are likely to be disappointed if they want to choose what sporting events they watch. My understanding is that right now the standard offering is for Panasonic and their media partners to pick 1 (or 2) games to show at a time. When I asked if they would allow airlines to select what games they show, the answer was along the lines of, “Sure, for a price.”
I don’t know how much extra that will cost, but my guess is programs will be pre-selected by someone other than American Airlines. Panasonic seems to have a good amount of this content locked up for quite a while, so that’s a plus for expansion of the portfolio to offer more variety.
American Airlines was testing Live TV on some of their 787s last year, so there was a bit of foreshadowing about this move. I don’t think all of the long-haul aircraft are outfitted with Panasonic just yet, but this announcement makes me think they have the 777-300ERs and 787s covered with plans on how to cover the other planes (or categorize those destinations as “coming soon” or “not long-haul). Anyways, good news coming to a long-haul AA flight near you soon.
Second, they’re adding snacks back to domestic flights in economy.
Now, don’t go getting overly excited. We’re talking pretzels and cookies for now.
United brought back snacks not too long ago and Delta offers snacks now. Southwest offers peanuts and/or pretzels (and really nothing else for purchase). View From The Wing argues that American didn’t have a choice here since their peers are doing it. That’s a valid point that we shouldn’t have been surprised by this move. I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s not a huge move.
Snacks will start on trans-continental flights and roll out to all domestic flights by April.
I prefer to buy my snacks onboard, and certainly enjoy that American Airlines gives Executive Platinum members a free snack when traveling in coach. But, I do understand the desire to say they’re offering free snacks.
As an aside, is it bad that I see Biscoff cookies and think about opportunities from years ago to leverage purchases of Biscoff to earn lots of miles?
All in all, good news from American Airlines today. I’ll be interested to see the Live TV product the next time I’m on an international flight.