United Airlines has long offered DIRECTV on their fleet of Boeing 737s. Access to it has been free in first class, though in economy you’ve had to pay — the cost has been $5.99 on flights of under two hours, and $7.99 on flights of two hours or longer.
United Airlines has now announced that effective immediately, more than 100 channels of live TV will be free on 211 Boeing 737 aircraft. On top of that, the selection of new release Hollywood movies available through DIRECTV is also free.
This is in addition to United customers also having access to hundreds of movies and TV shows through the United app on their personal devices.
While it’s great to see this development, it’s worth noting that JetBlue has been offering free DIRECTV for nearly two decades on their aircraft, so United sure is catching up late here.
I’ve always wondered whether United charging for seatback TV on their 737s was a function of them wanting to generate ancillary revenue, or whether it was a function of the cost of turning it on for all passengers being prohibitively high.
I’m not sure what exactly their arrangement is with DIRECTV, but I’d guess that the cost to United is at least somewhat correlated to the number of TVs that are streaming their services.
It has been quite a while since I’ve flown United in economy, but at least in first class I’ve always found that quite a few people watch DIRECTV.
What has your experience been with DIRECTV on United — do a lot of people buy it in economy, or no?