United Airlines Could Offer Personal IFE On Boeing 737 MAX

United Airlines could introduce personal in-flight entertainment screens on their Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

United Airlines carrier
United could add personal IFE to their next carrier orders. Image – United Airlines

One Mile at a Time reports on a document that suggests new orders on some upcoming Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 10 deliveries will feature personal televisions at every seat for the US airline.

The document review by PaxEx hints that the upcoming orders may change the way its inflight entertainment system fits. Preceding orders offer only streaming to passenger devices but it appears that an upgrade is in the works.

Why is this special?

United currently disfavor personal screens on the majority of their flights for logistical reasons. These models are costly to install and add weight to the plane, which can increase fuel use. Along with American Airlines, they rely on customers using streaming services on their own electronic devices.

United look to review this approach, with the company reportedly reintroducing personal IFE in their upcoming aircraft. This new attitude could be implemented in one of two ways.

They could look to compete against Delta directly, by adding higher quality onboard content to their devices. This will give them a premium edge, something that Delta excels better at compared with their US based counterparts.

The other route could be that the airline is adopting a fleet of narrowbody airplanes. They could use these for cross country or international flights.

Delta Narrowbody Interior
Unlike Delta, United are reluctant to offer personal screens in their narrow-body aircraft. Image – Delta News Hub via Flickr

Adapting to change

United may be feeling the pressure to improve their IFE amid other airlines investing in such services. British Airways recently revealed that they are set to trial virtual reality on their flights. The UK outfit will offer this test to a select group of fliers between London and New York.

BA state that they are always looking at the latest technology to improve the experience of their customers. The airline stresses the importance of the customer experience within their flights. United may need to adopt this policy as they are constantly competing with Delta and American.

United have the capacity to improve their inflight services. It was revealed that their existing IFE devices on the seatbacks were designed with webcams. The webcams are supposedly inactive but were included for their potential use in the future. The cameras will allow the use of interactive entertainment such as video calling and gaming.

United Boeing 737
United may be set on upgrading on their upcoming Boeing 737 order. Image – Wikimedia Commons

Keeping up with the demand

In addition, United has 15.1% domestic market share, which falls behind American, Southwest and Delta. To continue their growth in the market, they will need to keep up with the demand for in-flight entertainment.

In conclusion, both domestic and international carriers are finding new ways to use technology to the benefit of their business. Even if United underplay the advancement of these screens, they may have no choice but to eventually adapt.

Simple Flying reached out to United for comment and are yet to hear from the airline as of the time of publishing. We will update with any further announcements.