by Bob Bestor
We all complain about commercial airlines, and they probably deserve it. There is little argument that historically they have done one thing (and one thing only) very well—they get their passengers to their destinations quickly and safely. Everything else, whether it’s comfort, cuisine, or anything that might make the experience even the slightest bit more pleasurable, is sorely lacking.
But in a small but very nice step to reverse that trend, United, Alaska, American, Delta and more airlines now offer in-flight streaming of movies and TV shows to laptops, tablets and smartphones.
The beta version from United is free (so far). It kicked off last year and is available on about 200 of their aircraft. On two recent trips it was available on most of my flights and I found it easy to use, reliable and a big improvement for the in-flight experience.
United’s Personal Device Entertainment is actually part of a suite of services in the United app that includes flight status and access to your personal United information like reservations, boarding passes and your Mileage Plus account.
The entertainment service comes on almost instantly after take-off, offers about 50 movies and mulitple episodes of about 30 TV shows, and shuts off right around touch-down. Prospective users must download the free app from either Apple or Google before traveling. Here is the link to United’s Personal Device Entertainment page.
- United’s service is free (so far).
- This is not wifi. With United, wifi is a separate on-board service that is available for a fee on a growing number of their aircraft.
- Download the app before you fly.
- Other airlines, including Alaska, Delta, and American also offer similar services, such as the GoGo In Flight Video.