Why JetBlue Is Keeping Seatback Screens While Other Airlines Are Getting Rid of Them (Video)

While some airlines look to phase out seat-back entertainment in favor of direct-to-device streaming, JetBlue is continuing to invest in screens at every seat.

The airline debuted its brand-new Airbus A320 cabins on Wednesday, which Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Marty St. George said, “brings together technology, entertainment, and comfort with the great service JetBlue customers love so much.”

Interior of redesigned JetBlue airplane
Courtesy of JetBlue
Seat-back screens on board a JetBlue plane
Courtesy of JetBlue

One major part of the new cabin experience is a 10.1-inch in-flight entertainment system, complete with DIRECTV live channels, on-demand content and new gaming features.

The new in-flight entertainment system will allow passengers to pair their handheld devices to use as remotes or gaming controllers. They’ll also be able to pause and rewind live TV, like a DVR and access destination-specific content. It will also allow each passenger to personalize their inflight entertainment, with the system capable of “welcoming them by name or remembering where they left off in a movie/TV show between flights.”

“JetBlue continues to be the only major airline in the U.S. with seat-back entertainment screens at every seat,” an airline spokesperson told Travel + Leisure in an email. “Our research shows that our customers want to multi-task just like they do in the comfort of their home. This means watching a live sports game or a feature-length movie while browsing social media or catching up on personal or work emails.”

“By keeping our seat-back screens customers can choose to consume content from multiple sources without having to assign their personal device to one function.”

About a third of the 130 A320 aircraft in JetBlue’s fleet will undergo a retrofit in 2019.

According to The Points Guy, the new seat-back entertainment will appear on all future aircraft added to the JetBlue fleet, which is set to include Airbus A321neos and all new A220s.

Delta is one other airline that has made the decision to keep seat-back entertainment systems. But last year, American Airlines announced that it would start taking away screens in favor of a streaming system that passengers could beam to their own personal devices.

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