United Airlines has recently entered into a collaboration with Panasonic Avionics, which promises to enhance the experience of economy travel. While it won’t make the seats any larger or add extra legroom, it will offer travelers a more immersive in-flight entertainment experience with larger, high-resolution screens and, notably, Bluetooth connectivity. The airline has reported plans to fit nearly 300,000 Panasonic Avionics’ Astrova in-flight entertainment screens on selected new Boeing 787 and Airbus A321XLR aircraft.
These 4K OLED technology seatback displays offer superior image quality and contrast ratio compared to many existing in-flight entertainment systems. Panasonic Avionics has noted that Astrova also delivers high fidelity 3D spatial audio via its cutting-edge Bluetooth technology. This means travelers will no longer need to rely on wired headphones or carry Bluetooth adapters to use their wireless earbuds. Furthermore, Astrova includes USB-C ports that can charge phones and tablets with up to 100 watts of DC power.
Aviation Week has highlighted that while the Boeing 787 and Airbus A321XLR aircraft are part of United’s international fleet, the airline also has plans to outfit its domestic fleet with Astrova in-flight entertainment systems. The installation will be carried out under the United Next initiative, which aims to provide every seat with a seatback in-flight display. United’s first class passengers will have access to 13-inch displays, while economy passengers will have 10-inch screens.
The partnership announcement made by the two companies indicates that United will have the option to upgrade the Astrova displays in future years. The in-flight entertainment system has a modular design with a detachable peripheral bar, facilitating the integration of new technologies and upgrades to its Bluetooth and charging capabilities. However, no immediate upgrades are expected as the airline isn’t set to begin the installation of the in-flight entertainment systems until 2025.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about United Airlines In-Flight Entertainment Upgrade
What is the recent deal between United Airlines and Panasonic Avionics about?
United Airlines has partnered with Panasonic Avionics to improve in-flight entertainment. They plan to install around 300,000 Panasonic Avionics’ Astrova in-flight entertainment screens in selected Boeing 787 and Airbus A321XLR aircraft.
What features will these new in-flight entertainment screens have?
These screens are seatback displays utilizing 4K OLED technology, promising superior image quality and contrast ratio. Additionally, they include the latest Bluetooth technology for high fidelity 3D spatial audio, allowing passengers to use wireless earbuds without needing wired headphones or Bluetooth dongles. The screens also feature USB-C ports that can provide up to 100 watts of DC power to charge phones and tablets.
Will these in-flight entertainment screens be installed in United’s domestic fleet?
Yes, in addition to the international Boeing 787 and Airbus A321XLR aircraft, United Airlines also plans to equip its domestic fleet with the Astrova in-flight entertainment system.
When will these new in-flight entertainment systems be installed?
According to United Airlines, the installation of the new in-flight entertainment systems is not scheduled to start until 2025.
Will there be upgrades to the Astrova displays in the future?
Yes, United Airlines has the option to upgrade the Astrova displays in the future years. The system has a modular architecture, which makes it easier to integrate new technologies and upgrade its Bluetooth or charging capabilities.