American Airlines is keen to keep its passengers connected with their loved ones and provide top-quality entertainment while in the air. Simple Flying recently spoke with Clarissa Sebastian, the carrier’s managing director of premium guest experiences and onboard products, about the airline’s inflight initiatives.
Last month, American Airlines launched a trial offering free Facebook Messenger and Messenger Kids on most flights with the carrier’s Viasat high-speed WiFi. The Dallas/Fort Worth-based carrier wants to make it easier to connect with family and friends from the skies.
With this service, passengers can download Facebook Messenger or Messenger Kids app before their flight. Then, when they are in the skies, they can connect for free to the AA-Inflight WiFi signal and launch the messenger app.
The airline emphasizes that passengers play the lead role in helping the company better understand what inflight experience they want and use while on board the aircraft. Therefore, trials like this will guide future planning.
This move followed the addition of free Apple TV+ on board the plane. Passengers can therefore enjoy select series and films on the streaming service such as The Morning Show, Defending Jacob, Dickinson, For All Mankind, Ghostwriter, Helpsters, Home Before Dark, Little America, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, Oprah’s Book Club, and the full season of Snoopy in Space. Further titles will be added on a regular basis.
Listening to the audience
Sebastian highlights that the partnership with Apple also offers the addition of Apple Music, allowing passengers to choose from 70+ million ad-free songs. There is also access to Apple News, which provides some crucial updates in the current climate.
Ultimately, American is always evaluating its products and offerings to ensure that it is providing the best experience for those traveling.
“This is a larger effort to really understand what our customers value. So, whereas I think in the past, we worked hard to understand from a longer perspective what we could put on our aircraft and keep, and what our brand-new offering for the longer future would be. Now, we’re looking to hear back from our customers,” Sebastian told Simple Flying.
“We’re looking to offer them an opportunity to try things and tell us, “Hey, we really like this,” or, “Hey, this one wasn’t quite as [good] – we thought we wanted it but perhaps, not quite as useful as we thought.” So, it’s the beginning of a longer effort to really tune in to what people want and understand their needs as they evolve, too.”
A new standard
Altogether, inflight entertainment has come a long way in a short amount of time. Passengers are increasingly using their mobile devices while on the aircraft. American Airlines recognizes this and is allowing them to make the most out of their devices with free connectivity.
It’s not only entertainment that is being offered, as travelers can also communicate for free with these initiatives. This may seem like a small factor, but there are still plenty of carriers across the globe that don’t even offer seatback screens on scheduled long-haul routes.
What are your thoughts about these initiatives for passengers while flying with American Airlines? Do you think these introductions are a good move by the carrier? Let us know what you think in the comment section.