Last summer Delta completed installation of seat back video on its 600th plane while American remained committed to ripping out seat back screens from domestic narrowbody aircraft that have them today.
American has staked out a position that with high speed internet and streaming entertainment, including live TV, they’re preparing for the future. Most customers bring ‘their own devices’ although that includes their phones capable of video. American’s legacy US Airways (‘basket of deplorables’) Airbus A320s won’t get seat power until 2021 so customers draining power and squinting to watch video on their phones who make it through many flights if on one of these aircraft.
Many customers think that American is wrong, watching entertainment on their phones isn’t the same as a seat back screen if they even know they have to download the American Airlines app prior to takeoff in order to do so. Planes with seat back video look newer and fresher, while even brand new aircraft without screens look old and cheap — there’s a reverse halo effect that can drag down premium revenue too. That may have given rise to the rumors that American was reconsidering its stance on seat back screens.
However I’ve finally been convinced that American was right. Passengers don’t deserve seat back entertainment. And all it took was one short video going viral on twitter to show me that was the case.
My friend who doesn’t have twitter sent this from her flight. It belongs on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/qG6d54V5Dd
— Alafair Burke (@alafairburke) July 15, 2019
First, if screens induce this sort of behavior then screens themselves are evil. Second, do you really want to swipe the screen with your hand after this? Your phone is dirtier than you can possibly imagine, but you should sanitize it and if you don’t it’s only your own health you risk.
At the very least after watching this passenger the next time I fly Delta I’m going to bring sanitary wipes before touching the seat back screens, since airlines deep clean planes less often than you think. And with American choosing to sacrifice cleanliness for on time departures (while not achieving either) if the airline did go with screens would you want to touch them?