The "reserved for future programming" channels on several of our fleet types' audio systems has irked me for some time!
The story: in the early 90s, United introduced live inflight radio programming from USAToday newspapers, called SKY Radio. The program debuted on UA's 737-300s and -500s, then moved into some 767s and the first batch of A320s. Three channels of news, sports, and talk-variety programming was offered. The "live" programming was unique, but proved unpopular. SKY Radio went "belly-up" in January of 1995.
While the 767 and 737 fleets' audio systems were reprogrammed, over six years later the Airbus system has yet to be changed. That part of this puzzle eludes me. I wish I had asked United's manager of entertainment programming when I'd had the chance (he was on one of my flights a little while ago). Instead, all I did was complain about the lousy choice of films we always offer on our movie flights!
United is in the process of upgrading the audio system on our 747-400s. Hopefully they can work on those 3 Airbus channels when they finish!
"Deltaflyertoo:" Geesh! I thought I was the only nut who wondered about those missing channels!