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I don’t post all that often about news or announcements in the aviation industry that isn’t somehow related to miles and points, as there are plenty of others that can do that far better than I can. That said, I do think that today’s announcement from American Airlines is absolutely worth mentioning since in-flight entertainment is very much related to family travel. You can read the full announcement from American Airlines here, but basically they have announced that they are working toward having the youngest fleet in the sky (among the major US carriers) within the next five years.
I like “new car smell”, so I am sure I would really like “new plane smell”. However, what I am really excited about though is what will be on-board these new planes.
Watch what you want when you want on our new planes with the latest in personal, in-seat entertainment, choosing from a vast selection of movies, TV programs, audio selections and games. If you prefer to venture online, stay connected with Wi-Fi, available on most flights within the continental U.S. – and on select international flights starting December 2012. All of these features, including individual 110v universal AC power outlets and USB jacks, will be available at every seat and every cabin on our new planes,* which are designed to keep you comfortable and entertained while you fly.
I know that some parents choose to not encourage their children to watch TV or spend much time playing with electronics – heck, I am right there with you much of the time. However, while traveling, that all changes. It’s kinda hard on a flight to encourage your kid to go and play outside, or build pillow forts, so electronic entertainment of any form is a very good way for many kiddos to pass some time at 36,000 feet. We often lug our own laptops, Little C’s DVD player, her DVDs, and sometimes a tablet (that we very much need to load some movies on). That is in addition to all the other stuff that we carry on for her. If I knew for sure that the flight was going to have an on-board entertainment system, we could scale back on some of those items.
When we fly on flights that have DIRECTV or other built-in programming, it is amazing. Not only do we not have to dig out her electronic crack entertainment machines, but we can use the built in entertainment system at any time during the flight. We don’t have to wait until we have passed 10,000 feet, or stow it away when we start descending. Having WIFI would also be great for her as she really loves interactive kid friendly websites like StarFall.com, so having that tool at our disposal during the flight would also be very helpful.
I know that these upgrades are likely geared more for the frequent business traveler than the traveling toddler, but the toddler will still reap the benefits none the less (and on a plane when the toddler is happy, everyone is happy!). American also announced other upgrades related to a premium cabin walk-up bar, lie flat transcontinental First and Business Class seats, and more. Those are all great, but I’m most interested in anything on-board that will keep my kid happy. Now if they could just install an on-board swimming pool we would be all set.