United Adds iPad In-flight Movie Service, Leaves Android at the Gate

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The skies will be a little more friendly for United passengers with iPads and iPhones come April because the airline will begin offering in-flight movies just for those devices. United will be adding the service to some of its planes next month, and plans to eventually offer iPhone and iPad owners movies and TV shows throughout its fleet.

United brings iPad movie viewing to its flightsUnited brings iPad movie viewing to its flights

The airline said,

Most planes will be equipped with the new system very soon, and we'll have it installed on most domestic aircraft by the end of 2014. We'll begin on Airbus A319, Airbus A320, Boeing 747-400 and select 777-200 aircraft, followed by additional fleets. In the end, all United-operated flights will have some form of entertainment.

Passengers will need to download the free United app from Apple's iTunes-based App Store to be able to watch in-flight movies. The airline said it will have over 150 movies and 200 TV shows available when the service launches.

Laptop owners can get in on the video action, too, but the Android crowd is on their own to find other ways to watch movies and TV shows in the air. United isn't supporting Android-based smartphones and tablets for now.

The available movies and TV shows will be free to watch. Travelers can check up to 48 hours ahead of their flight to see if United's new personal entertainment system is available.

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Services like free in-flight movies can help airlines differentiate themselves, and potentially draw in travelers that otherwise would've gone with a different company. Skipping the Android-toting crowd says United sees iPhone and iPad owners as potentially more valuable customers -- or at least those are the travelers the airline is most interested in.

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Kentaro Yamamoto

My future flights will be more pleasant with this.


I’m not sure it says anything about whether device users are more valuable or not.

Certainly having one unified platform makes it easier to choose Apples ecosystem to start.

It make sense that longer term it would be likely that Android and Windows phones will likely get into the mix. That would make all customers happier.

Ian Beyer

I suspect this is more of a technology decision relating to the streaming of the movies - Live streaming secure content to Android is rather difficult without an app, whereas on iOS, it’s fairly straightforward and baked into the OS/Browser.

John Dingler, artist

Hi paikinho,
You say that having Android and Microsoft “...would make all customers happier.” Say that I don’t like or use Apple, Android, and Microsoft, that I am a techophobe, why would I be happier? It seems to me that I would be just as happy, you know, in my normal way, no more, no less. This is because my happyness would not depend on mobile technology; My happyness is inner.


Would technophobes be happy on planes? They are after all replete with all kinds of flashy things and modernity.

Anyhow thanks for so pointing out to my glaring, but good natured generalization. I best mind myself in the future with literalists on the prowl hahahaa.

A better way of expressing what I meant would have been…..
“In the longer term it would be likely that Android and Windows phones will likely get into the mix. That would make more customers happy, in particular the users of Android and Windows phones who make up roughly 60% of the current market of smartphone and whom would likely appreciate the value add for them”

Is that better?

John Dingler, artist

Hi paikinho,
Thanks for taking my comment good-naturedly.

In my humble, biased opinion, seems to me that putting Android and Windows phones into the mix would make more customers unhappy, so that an increase of their users would increase the total amt. of un-happyness in cell phone use.

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