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AA's New IFE System!

Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:13 am

Here is the article; it will be published in tommorrow's (16/Nov/04) New York Times.

I think this thing will be a failure...too expensive for short flights...and flight attendants will HATE it.

Maybe if it were $5 and came with a large selection of programming (like Virgin's v|Port) it WOULD be a good idea.
Don't bring up the NW DC9's unless you have to!
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RE: AA's New IFE System!

Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:27 am

Here is the link directly from AA's website:

I was unable to view the link in the original post.

American Airlines - We Know Why You Fly
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RE: AA's New IFE System!

Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:34 am

If you think about it it is a good idea. Say you are on a flight ORD-FCO and all you had were the T.V.'s that you possibly might not be able to see. It would be better than nothing. ON both the long hauls and the short hauls I think it is a great idea.
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RE: AA's New IFE System!

Tue Nov 16, 2004 12:13 pm

I think NW is thinking about this, then again, they may put IFE back into the cabin once things pick back up instead of this stuff.
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RE: AA's New IFE System!

Tue Nov 16, 2004 12:29 pm

Will they plug into the power adapters like the DVD players they give in business on international 767 flights? 5 hours seems like a really short battery life for trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific flights.

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RE: AA's New IFE System!

Tue Nov 16, 2004 1:08 pm

It seems cool, but a $10-$12 rental fee seems pretty high for me.
Newark Airport...My Home Away From Home
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RE: AA's New IFE System!

Tue Nov 16, 2004 3:00 pm

The new IFE system is intended for domestic use at this time, hence, a five hour battery life is perfectly fine. The original idea for the unit was developed after AA decided to add the MD-80s back to ORD-West Coast flights when it moves the 738s to MIA.

As far as the cost, I believe AS charges $10 for their units which are similar. But I also believe you can reserve them ahead of time for $5. Maybe something for AA to think about. Anyone on here from AS know how these devices are doing there? As far as content goes, I don't know of any built-in IFE system with as much content as these units have.

Believe it or not, the flight attendants are actually embracing this new system. All that's involved on the flight attendant's part is to hand them out and collect them. The units come right out of the cart fully charged and loaded, and they have their own swiper for credit cards. The passenger swipes the card themselves to activate the unit. No money is handled by the flight attendant. We've long wanted an entertainment option on the MD-80, and this is the most affordable to way to do it, and, it creates a whole new revenue stream for AA.

On another note, to increase revenue, AA will raise the price of headsets from $2.00 to $5.00. You'll remember AA used to rent the headsets for five, but changed their policy to sell them for two. I don't remember the start date, sometime in the next month, but they'll go back to five dollars. The headsets are still being sold, however, not rented. Customers are encouraged to bring them back and use them on other flights. Also, pax can bring their own headset and use it for no charge.
The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer’s views.
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RE: AA's New IFE System!

Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:12 pm


Headsets go to 5.00 on the 1st Dec. As for embracing the new IFE units..... Well dont include me. Even though this test is only taking place on domestic flights, we already have the experience of handing out Bose headsets on Intl flights, and it is a darn nightmare...... Passengers usually are still watching a movie when its already time to collect these units, and they dont want to give them up. Then, after 2 or three times of nicely asking for the units, you come back and tell them they need to give them up and then you´re the mean F/A...... Everybody needs to understand that these units have to be inventoried and locked up. As a Purser I´ve had flights that even after we land, we´re still dealing with this headset issue. And that is on an over 8 hours flight. Imagine on a shorter one.... And dealing with all of M/C. I hope we´re wrong, but I just dont see how this is going to work.
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RE: AA's New IFE System!

Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:23 pm

This is not gonna work,

Im sure first class passengers will appreciate it for free, but its not really practile for economy class passengers. Who's really gonna fork out $12?
Not that many people i can imagine. However Im sure if you used, even the old fashoned CRT tv monitors in the isle, and gave out the headseats for free, everybody would watch.

That and Jetblue gives you it for free!
You can't really push it big time in any advertising campaign if the next thing you have to tell everybody is that there is a heafty charge for it.
I can see why AA probably can't or doesn't want to spend the money for PTV's in every seat on MD-80 aircraft, but how about drop down LCD screens like on A320s/ some 737s on part of the fleet that could be assigned to longer routes?
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RE: AA's New IFE System!

Wed Nov 17, 2004 6:12 am


I, too, am a Purser and flew international at BOS and JFK. I guess we just have a different way of looking at things. I totally understand the problems with the Bose headsets, but it has never been a nightmare for me. Domestically, it appears the ease of use of the units and very little flight attendant interaction are gaining the device praise. We're tired of near five hour flights on MD-80s with no IFE for the pax. With no money involved and simple handout and pickup procedures, I think the FAs will get used to this quite quickly. For me, it'll be just like handing out the personal DVD players.


Pre 9/11, AA was in the process of picking out an IFE system for the MD-80s with drop down LCDs. Unfortunately, it was one of the first improvement projects out the window when the econ tanked. I don't think we'll ever see them now. Besides, not only does this new unit give AA an entertainment option on the MD-80, it also creates a revenue stream that could be expanded to include other fleet types. AA already has plans to test it on some 757 markets.

I still wish someone from AS would comment on how these devices are doing there. I verified with the AS website their units rent for $10. Here's a link to their website with more info about the digEplayer:

AA's devices will be very similar in terms of content, plus they'll have digital newspapers updated daily. AA's devices resemble a personal DVD player.

The other thing to keep in mind is their won't be a unit onboard for every pax. 60 is a lot, but I highly doubt we'll actually use that many. That would beat even AA's most optimistic projections. On the other hand, I fully admit it will be a challenge if we start handing out more than 30 units on any given flight.

[Edited 2004-11-16 22:16:25]
The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer’s views.
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RE: AA's New IFE System!

Wed Nov 17, 2004 9:03 am

i didn't realize handing out IFE packs was such a pain
glad to see there is at least one FA who can handle this harsh duty.
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RE: AA's New IFE System!

Wed Nov 17, 2004 9:08 am

Big deal, they still don't have channel 9!

(just kidding)

Be interesting to see how this test plays out...

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RE: AA's New IFE System!

Wed Nov 17, 2004 10:37 am


The problem is not handing them out. Its when the pax. dont want to return them..... BUt then I cant expect you to have an idea about what Im saying..... And Qq fly boy, I hope you´re right. But after 20 years flying, I have my doubts this will work. Nothing like having the system right on your seat........
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RE: AA's New IFE System!

Wed Nov 17, 2004 10:48 am

Air Canada is putting it in all seats for all planes starting next year (International aircraft being outfitted first) and the CRJ 705's going to Jazz are going to be the first planes with personal TV's in the seat backs. You will be able to watch Movies, pre-recorded TV Programs, all on-demand, listen to music, and in the future their is already a prevision for Live TV. I say the system is going to be better then Westjet's and Jetblue's system.

The Seatback TV's will be installed in the new seats Air Canada is putting in its entire fleet starting next year with the international aircraft being fitted first. Also will have lie down beds in all International Aircraft J Class cabins.
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RE: AA's New IFE System!

Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:23 am

This thing will fail... I think they should have kept the MRTC because I'm certainly not happy flying AA's B757s, they are cattle cars of the air! I think again AA misses the mark when it comes to figuring out what its passengers want.

If I am on a 5-hour domestic flight I will be more concerned about having room to stretch than having my knees crushed by the seat in front of me while I stare like a retard at a high-tech idiot box. Certainly this is something to keep AA's FAs happy on aircraft that don't have visual entertainment systems (MD-80). Distracted passengers are less work.

[Edited 2004-11-17 03:26:53]
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