Chicago-based United Airlines is opening its seatback entertainment powered by DirecTV to all customers for free. Previously, the seatback-based satellite streaming service was offered to domestic business class customers for free while economy passengers had to swipe a credit card and pay a small fee to scroll through the spectrum of channels.
As of January 30th, however, the service is now free for all passengers. The updated service applies to all of the carrier’s 211 Boeing 737 fleet with seatback entertainment. All told, roughly 30,000 seats will be affected by the change. United’s announcement comes in the midst of a transition at American and United to move away from integrated seatback entertainment screens and towards digital, streaming entertainment built for bring-your-own devices.
As part of that move, carriers have been quick to offer digital solutions to passengers for free as a distraction from the physical changes happening in the cabin. Last July, United confirmed to Runwaygirl Network that it was removing seatback screens from a selection of its 757 fleet.