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By providing both seat-back entertainment and stream abilities, United is playing both sides of the fence in hopes that one of them will pay off.
Travelers who preload their iOS devices with movies and TV shows to entertain themselves during flights will now periodically have an alternative from United Airlines, which has revamped its iOS app to enable travelers to browse for United-supplied movies and TV shows on personal devices when connected to United’s Wi-Fi network.
United already offers offers on-demand setback entertainment, including moves, TV shows, songs and video games on a variety of aircraft, including all Boeing 787-8s and 787-9s, all internationally configured Boeing 757-200s, all Boeing 767-400s, and other aircraft.
United’s “new personal device entertainment service,” which is in place on “select aircraft,” enables users of the updated iOS Version 2.0.13 to connect to onboard Wi-Fi, and then browse and view select movies and TV shows on their iOS devices.
“To see if your flight offers personal device entertainment, go to the Inflight Amenities tab on the united.com Flight Status & Information page, or check the Amenities section of the Flight Status Details screen in the United app within 24 hours of your flight departure,” United states.
Users would presumably have to pay Wi-Fi fees to take advantage of the entertainment service on their personal devices, and there was no immediate word if the movie and TV viewing would be for free — and if it’s free, how long it would remain so.
United updated its iOS app May 7 to offer the new entertainment service, and revised its Androd app a week earlier, although the Android app doesn’t yet have the capability.