Actually for US carriers United is one of the best for offering IFE. The actual systems themselves are outdated, but all flights (with the exception of 737s and express) have at least overhead monitors. That is much better then having to pay like you do on some carriers like CO
, or not having anything like at NW
. So for domestic flights UA
is the best.
The internationally equiped 777s and 3 class 767s have PTVs in all classes that typically have 4 movies showing and some short subject entertainment. It is all free, and you will have this feature on your ORD
flight. On the 747s, 757s, domestic 767s, A320s, A319s, you do get overhead monitors playing a relatively new movie. Sometimes they are bad, but sometimes they are good movies and they are replaced every 15-30 days accross the entire fleet, so they shouldn't be old. If your son can see the screen above the aisle, then there will be some entertainment.
Also in business on international routes all seats have PTVs with 4 movie options and short subject. It is an outdated system and nothing like the newer available on demand systems, but I think it is adequate. In first class you get these features as well as a cassette player so you can select your own movie from a healthy selection.
Just because UA
has an outdated system, doesn't mean that it is mostly nonexistant. Compare UA
and you will see a huge difference as the latter gave up on domestic IFE and even on planes equipped with it, they leave the system off.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!