American Airlines is still in the process of renewing most of its fleet. By retiring all of its MD-80s by 2018, to adding new aircraft, the airline expects to offer a seamless product. However, given recent drawbacks, the airline has not made uniform its product on long haul planes. The airline has 4 types of business class seats. On older 3-class 777s, business is still angled flat. The airline has refreshed some US Airways aircraft with new seats and power. Yet, those refreshed are only A319s. The airline seems to have a long way ahead to refresh the rest.
The airline will receive the first of its 737MAX this year. For a long time, we did not know how the interior would look like. We all assumed that it would be a continuation of the A321 and 737 interior. Well, it looks like we now have more info.
American Ditches Inflight Entertainment on 737MAX
You read it right folks. The brand new 737MAX will not come with seatback screens. Instead,
per the Bloomberg report, they will install faster wifi connections allowing passengers to stream media from their free library. Hopefully, we will see faster wifi speeds with this. I see it as more realistic that they store the library onboard in a server. However, the airline is committed to faster wifi in the coming years, after a spat with Gogo.
Their main argument is that passengers don’t really need seatback screens. Since passengers now carry smartphones, tablets and laptops, they can just stream media. In theory, this is true. It would only work if airlines provided enough in seat power for each person. American has said that they will provide power at each seat. We will have to see how that pans out.
Per the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the airline’s international fleet will not be affected. New 787s, A350s, and refurbished 777s will still have seatback screens.
In Other News
In more positive news, the airline has said it will install power ports on former US Airways Aircraft. The same Bloomberg article confirms that the airline will be adding power ports to the fleet by 2020. We can expect to have (hopefully) newer seats and power on former US Airways A321s. The timeline is still years away, but progress is on the horizon.
I am very displeased that American has decided to not install seatback screens on its new planes. The airline’s argument is valid, however. Everyone now carries smartphones and other tech. My issues are that 1. You can’t view a live map without paying for wifi 2. A 5.5” screen is not the same as a 9.2” screen. The only plus side is that there will no longer be annoying boxes under seats. These boxes usually contained the hardware for the seatback screens. We will see if the rest of the airlines follow them, and if they don’t, how that will impact American’s image. Not to say that American’s current image is great, given their recent announcement of Basic Economy.
What do you think? Do you agree with American’s 737MAX proposal? Let us know!