In recent years, there’s been a lot of discussion regarding seat back entertainment. Many airlines have scrapped them while Delta videos are still there. Not only that, the US airline is proactively adding and updating screens. The feedback, so far is overwhelming positive. So why isn’t everyone doing it?
Bring your own screen
Staying ahead of the curve is an important business tactic and nowhere is this more important than 30,000 feet up. With airlines, such as American, reducing bathroom sizes to fit more seats, and legroom slowly shrinking, TV screens have come into focus. Do we really need them? Don’t we all have tablets? And with Wi Fi onboard, we’re all connected to our own Amazon Prime and Netflix accounts, anyway. How can an airline’s inflight entertainment possible compete with that?
American Airlines is one hundred percent betting against seat back entertainment. Alongside smaller bathrooms, the airline is removing seat back video screens from its domestic fleet as part of Project Oasis. But as some analysts have seen, AA may have jumped the gun.
Yes, travellers are travelling with laptops and ipads, but not all travellers – certainly not families. By requiring passengers to bring their own screens, AA is assuming a business traveller model – but this market is currently under flux. With recession and austerity circling the globe, plus leaps forward in tech, and boards of directors looking for ways to cut costs, the business flight could become a smaller piece of the pie. But individuals and familes will still continue to travel to see each other in person.
Touch screen televisions to 600 more planes
So it’s hardly surprising that Delta in flight entertainment is turning out to be a touch paper in revenue prediction. When people buy their own tickets, they get to decide how much they are willing to pay. This means excellent in-flight entertainment could be a product that makes the airline stand out from the crowd.
Flight buying platforms such as Kayak turn flights into a commodity, but you can filter your requirements. It could be that inflight entertainment soon becomes one of these options. This is the direction Delta are betting on as it continues to add touch screen televisions to 600 more planes.
But of course, it’s not just Delta video screens putting passengers in seats. The airline is also upping its game in customer service and on-time flights. Essentially, while American is squeezing every last dollar out of each customer, Delta seem willing to play the long game. If you give your passengers the bathroom size and legroom they need, plus the expected amenities, they’re going to trust you more.
Also, we’ve seen these tech ideas backfire before. They got rid of inflight music because everyone had an Ipod, only for passenger to start using their phones for music – and then stop for fear of running out the battery. And what if we have another security drive like the kind which banned laptops from flights out of Dubai and Istanbul again? Call me a pessimist, but I really couldn’t face flying across the country without at least a little TV time.