Delta becomes the only US airline to offer completely free inflight entertainment.
The past 15 years of commercial aviation have been enormously frustrating for passengers. Airlines have focused on unbundling–adding fees to services that were previously included in the cost of a ticket. The flying experience has become noticeably more frustrating as airlines crammed more seats into planes, piles on fees and charged for luggage and food.
The tide towards crappier experiences with increasing fees might be changing though. This week, Delta Air Lines announced that all of their in-flight entertainment (known as Delta Studio) would be free by Jul 1, 2016. This means that watching live TV, movies and episodes will now be available to all passengers free of charge. Delta Studio offers up to 300 movies, 750 TV shows, 100 foreign film titles, 2,400 songs, 18 channels of live satellite TV on select aircraft and a selection of games on aircraft with seat-back entertainment systems. While all media will now be gratis on Delta, the company will still charge for wifi onboard its aircraft.
In a statement, Tim Maples, Delta’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, said,“the only thing better than operating the world’s largest in-flight entertainment-equipped fleet is providing it free to all our guests. Our commitment is to provide Delta customers with the industry’s best on-board services – period.”
Will other airlines follow suit and offer free entertainment? No word yet from United or American Airlines. Southwest and JetBlue offer free live TV but charge for on-demand content and wifi.