United Airlines Looks At Bringing Back Seatback Screens

United Airlines will be adding seatback screens to older aircraft. The carrier is looking to improve customer experience as it seeks to come out of the present pandemic with a fresh outlook.

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United is introducing a series of initiatives in the new climate. Photo: Getty Images

A new image

The Chicago-based airline provides a broad range of programs and movies to stream on most of its aircraft. However, the airline is looking to up its offering on older members of its fleet. Ultimately, seatback IFE can be a gamechanger for several passengers when they’re looking for a full-service carrier. Therefore, this decision could go a long way for the company.

Live and Let’s Fly reports on details shared by Toby Enqvist, United’s Chief Customer Officer. He spoke about the initiatives in a video to his staff members. Overall, the executive is keen not to give passengers an excuse to fly with another airline. Actions include renovating older narrowbody planes to add new seats with seatback IFE fitted with AVOD (audio and video on demand).

“Our competition is really, really stiff, especially in our hubs. Our customers actually have a choice,” Enqvist said in the video, as described by Live and Let’s Fly.

“They don’t have to fly United, so we have to make them want to choose United.”

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United’s seatback screens are well received by those who travel on seats with the offering. Photo: United Airlines

Across the board

Other measures to achieve the legacy carrier’s ambitions include adding bigger overhead bins, expanding some United Club lounges, and advancing on inflight dining by implementing pre-order options. The latter may be achieved by the end of this year and could cut down on waste while helping customers be more prepared for their journey.

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United is no stranger when it comes to reworking older aircraft. The airline has been on a mission in recent years to overhaul its international fleet with its Polaris cabins. Looking at these more recent reports, the operator is also keen to revamp its wider fleet. Notably, United’s new Boeing 737 MAX 9s do not feature seatback screens either. Passengers on these planes solely rely on the on board WiFI and power outlets so they can be entertained via their mobile devices.

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Even some of the newer aircraft don’t have seatback screens. Photo: Getty Images

An extra touch

Simple Flying reached out to United Airlines for comment on its seatback screen offerings. A spokesperson for the airline shared the following:

“After navigating through the worst crisis our industry has ever faced, we are excited about what is ahead for United. We’re focused on continued innovation to enhance the customer experience as they return to the skies. We look forward to announcing more details in the near future.”

Altogether, the decision to renovate older aircraft with seatback screens may be appreciated by several members of the traveling public. However, society is becoming increasingly familiar with relying on mobile devices. The introduction of more seatback IFE will regardless give a personal touch and help to enhance the overall image of the airline.

What are your thoughts about United Airlines’ goals ahead? Do you think that the carrier should refit older aircraft with seatback screens? Let us know what you think of the plans in the comment section.