United Airlines to Offer Free Streaming

united airlinesUnited Airlines will soon be offering free inflight streaming capabilities for its customers. The legacy airline is improving upon their inflight entertainment options by allowing users to stream movies and TV through their mobile devices on the plane.

The airline will request users download an iOS app that allows them to view up to 150 preloaded movies and 200 television shows from their onboard system. United announced the new addition to their inflight service back in February, and they are expecting to push the product starting in April.

According to the United Airlines website, most planes already have the infrastructure for the new streaming content, and passengers will be uploading in no time. The plan is to start with most of United’s domestic flights, beginning with flights that are on their Airbus 319 and Airbus 320, and their Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 777-220 aircrafts.

The company notes that passengers can check to see if the plane they are flying on is equipped with the new software up to 48 hours before their flight with either United Airlines website or the app. The app currently requires users to have iOS 6 installed to work. While this new service is currently only targeted at those who are fortunate to own an Apple device, such as a iPad or iPhone, the company hopes to have developed an Android-friendly app for download soon.

Another perk for United Airlines offering free streaming is that passengers, according to CNN, will not be required to purchase wifi to stream the content. The movies and TV shows will be stored on a server that is installed on the plane, allowing streamlined delivery. Like most streaming apps, users will be able to pause, rewind and fast forward content at their pleasure.

The content will consist of both older offerings and the current obsessions of binge watchers everywhere. Netflix’s House of Cards will be included upon program launch, as well as seasons of Downton Abbey. United Airlines said it will be updating content each month by switching out movies and including recent episodes of today’s popular television shows.

Passengers can also use their Mac or PC laptops to stream the same content onboard. Users will just log in to the United Portal on an updated Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Google Chrome browser and start streaming. While the introduction of the service in April will be accessible only once the plane is in the air, United plans to soon make the service available gate to gate.

This decision came after the FAA changed the policy on the use of electronic devices on commercial airline flights last year. The decision enabled passengers to use laptops, e-readers, cell phones and tablets at all phases of flight, with some restrictions like ensuring devices are in airplane mode. Passengers can now use personal electronics during taxi, takeoff and landing, which can amount to a substantial portion of a flight in some cases, providing a good time for inflight entertainment such as United Airlines’ offerings.  United will begin offering the free streaming program by April, as aircrafts are already being retrofitted with the new system.

By Nathan Rohenkohl
(Follow me on Twitter @natty_dan)


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