In a move that dramatically challenges the monetized world of inflight entertainment, Delta Airlines announced that all classes of passengers on domestic and regional flights longer than one and a half hours will be able to access movies, television shows, music, and video games for free.
It’s all part of the Delta Studio service, which launches today. So far, 140 domestic planes are equipped with new seat-back entertainment systems, with 150 more to be updated through 2016. (Installation in the international fleet was finished in 2013.) Passengers flying on planes that don't yet have the seat-back product can still take advantage of unrestricted streaming on laptops and mobile devices via Gogo inflight WiFi. In addition to 18 live satellite TV channels, 250 movies, and 2,300 songs, there will be premium content (including new movie releases) available for purchase.
While other domestic airlines such as United do offer complimentary entertainment options on international and transcontinental flights, Delta is the first to extend the amenity to short-haul flights. (On United, for example, DIRECTV is $5.99 on flights two hours or less and $7.99 on flights longer than two hours.)
This summer, Delta also announced a partnership with Billboard to provide ergonomically designed earbuds on flights longer than 250 miles, available on aircraft equipped with seat-back and overhead entertainment. They’re free on international flights and those between New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle; $2 in domestic economy or Economy Comfort.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.