Airline passengers to use personal devices for in-flight entertainment

5th Jan 2018

A trend in customers favouring laptops, phones and tablets to amuse themselves during flights has led to the possibility of seatback screens being removed entirely. 

Airlines are instead beginning to make entertainment options available to passengers on their personal devices when the screens are removed. Having seatback screens can be costly, incur maintenance charges and add weight to the aircraft. 

American and United Airlines are the first carriers to ditch the screens, by not providing them on new planes designed for short trips. 

For passengers, this means free mobile messaging and in-flight entertainment that can be streamed on their devices. US company Delta Airlines recently announced that hundreds of movies and TV shows would be available for passengers to stream, and introduced free mobile messaging last year. 

The news may concern some passengers who prefer seatback screens because they don’t take up as much space. There are also concerns that streaming entertainment on personal devices will drain the batteries of customers’ devices. 

In the latest UK Customer Service Index (UKCSI), the transport sector’s overall average fell below the all-sector mark (78.2%), scoring 74.5%. Jet2 tops the list of satisfaction scores for airlines with 82.4%, while Ryanair comes last with a satisfaction score of 73%.

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