From today's NY Times Business section http://www.nytimes.com
"48 Channels at Your Seat
By SUSAN STELLIN
Published: November 17, 2003
elta Air Lines plans to announce today an in-flight entertainment system that will be installed at every seat on its new low-fare carrier, Song.
The system provides 24 channels of live satellite television, 24 channels of music and an interactive trivia game on a seven-inch touch-screen monitor installed in the back of each seat.
It made its appearance on a flight from Kennedy International Airport to Orlando, Fla., on Oct. 31. Song's managing director for marketing, Tim Mapes, said the system would be available on 9 of the airline's 36 Boeing 757 aircraft by the end of the year and the rest of the fleet by the end of March.
Customers who have flown on the test aircraft have been enthusiastic about the system, Mr. Mapes said
Song provides nonstop service between major cities in the Northeast and Florida, and Atlanta, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Juan, P.R. Offering in-flight entertainment is one of its central strategies for attracting passengers. A competitor, JetBlue, has offered live satellite TV
monitors at each seat since early 2000.
in many ways put us on the map," a JetBlue spokesman, Gareth Edmondson-Jones, said. "It's one of the first things people heard about us."
He added that although the company's research indicated that many customers tried JetBlue for the TV
's, surveys also showed that they came back because of the service. "It's more important," he said, "to have crew that are flexible and friendly and go out of their way to serve you."
Song will offer many of the same cable channels that are available in JetBlue's lineup, including A&E, CNN, CNBC, ESPN, MSNBC and the Weather Channel. While JetBlue offers WNBC (a draw for fans of the network's prime-time programming), Song can appeal to Hollywood watchers with E (gossip about network stars).
Beginning next spring, Song plans to add other features, including pay-per-view movies, the ability to create customized MP3 play lists and connecting gate information.
A demonstration of the system, open to the public at Song's temporary store on Prince Street in Lower Manhattan, shows screens to send e-mail messages, but Mr. Mapes said the airline was waiting for demand for that service to emerge. "What people say they want and what they're willing to pay for - what is commercially viable - can be two different things," he said.
E-mail service, however, will be available on Ted, the low-fare carrier United Airlines plans to introduce in February.
A United spokesman, Jason Schechter, said more details about Ted, including its entertainment system, would be announced during a promotional event tomorrow."