MIAMI — American Airlines said Tuesday it will not install seat-back entertainment screens on its forthcoming Boeing 737 MAX fleet, due to arrive later this year.
Instead, the Dallas/Ft. Worth-based carrier will offer free entertainment, which will be available to passengers on their electronic devices. American Airlines will provide a library of movies and TV shows, as well as live TV. Customers who buy Internet will be able to stream video content, as the 737 MAX will feature satellite internet from ViaSat.
“We know in-flight entertainment is important to our customers, which is why we’ve committed to offering free, streaming high-quality movies and music, and to investing in fast satellite-based Internet access and power at every seat across our domestic fleet,” the airline said in a statement to its employees.
American Airlines is not the first US carrier to make this decision. Alaska Airlines delivers multimedia content to passengers’ devices, and United Airlines’ newest Boeing 737-900s have streaming entertainment and Wi-Fi, but not seat-back screens.
“More than 90 percent of our passengers already bring a device or screen with them when they fly,” American told employees in a message. “Those phones and tablets are continually upgraded, they’re easy to use, and most importantly they are the technology that our customers have chosen,” American Airlines said.
American also told employees that IFE screens will remain on planes used for international flights, as well as in its three-class Airbus A321Ts and some single-aisle planes used for specific flights.
The airline expects to receive 4 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in 2017, which will be deployed mostly within North America.