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Is Delta the only American Airline that cares? As Delta loads its 600th plane with seatback video, American is preparing to remove the seat back video from all of their seats so that their passengers are left with no entertainment whatsoever. Your third option, United, does not have a great track record either, particularly if you have a pet. Remember the dog in an overhead bin saga. Of course, United had no intention of hurting any pets, but the result of travel on United for at least two dogs was catastrophic.

So who is right? Well, the argument for the removal of these entertainment screens is all related to weight. The less heavy the plane, the less fuel it uses, so each weighty seat back video costs American Airlines in fuel, hence the innovate plan of removing seat back videos. Add to this that there is a cost in producing these seat back videos and you can see why the American Airlines bean counters don’t like them.

I personally do not use seat back videos unless I am travelling in Business or First where I feel obliged to try all the amenities. I am short-sighted and find watching movies on a small economy or premium economy screen difficult. Add to that, us bloggers, along with many other travellers, work 24/7, so unless there is bad turbulence, you will find me glued to my laptop penning my next article together.

My son, who is 8, is arguably the next generation of traveller. We have Netflix and Amazon Prime along with kids YouTube. He is much more likely to watch his iPad than the entertainment provided. My husband is not a fan of movies and will most probably be working on his laptop reading his news feeds on his iPhone. So for us, American Airlines has gotten it right. But we are abnormal.

Walk down any plane aisle and you will see that 95% of the people on the plane will be watching the inflight entertainment. The result is showcased best by the results; American Airlines have a problem earning premium revenue while customers willing to spend more money to travel on Delta who offer entertainment. Delta’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Tim Mapes says, “We continue to invest in seat-back screens, because customers continue to tell us they’re important.”

Delta beats American Airlines on a number of other features, not just in the entertainment. Delta has better TechOps, which keeps Delta’s older fleet running in better time than the newer planes at other airlines. Delta also invest in more substantial in-flight meals, which is a reason for me to choose Delta over American.

Bottom line, if 95% of flyers are watching Delta’s entertainment, is American Airlines just catering for 5% of the travelling public who prefer to work or knit? Surely this is a crazy strategy to attract customers? Time will tell.

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