This American Airlines Ad About Wi-Fi Is All Of Us

by Chris Dong

As Delta invests in seatback entertainment, United and American are going all-in on a streaming entertainment strategy for most domestic and narrow-body flights. For American, that means the airline is actually removing screens from some of their aircraft that already have them. While removing entertainment options is not exactly a customer-friendly move, at the very least, American is heavily investing in high speed Wi-Fi.

Related: All The Airlines That Offer Free In-Flight Wi-Fi

American’s latest ad, clocking in at over three minutes, is a masterpiece in conveying the airline’s position as the leader in high-speed Wi-Fi. “Wi-Fi Withdrawal” is about a group of passengers who are thrown into the perils of a flight where they can’t stay connected to the ground.

However, I can’t help but wonder if these passengers would be so desperate for entertainment if American had seatback screens on all of their aircraft. 😛

There’s the “influencer” who can’t engage on social media while in the air, the bored kids with an eager-to-please father, a workaholic who has a shredder and printer onboard, and other entertaining, over-the-top passenger tropes.

My favorite part of this ad, by far, is the Magic Seatbelt Buckle saga that is the best use of airsick bags that I have ever seen.

While I generally like to not be connected in the air, the realities of work and life priorities means I increasingly need to stay connected. In my experience, American’s aircraft with either Viasat or Gogo 2ku are actually fast enough to get work done, download files, and do moderately intensive internet things. (No streaming Netflix though.)

American was pretty speedy installing these fast Wi-Fi capabilities across its fleet. Ironically, the only aircraft missing high speed Wi-Fi are American’s widebody aircraft (Boeing 777s, A330s, 787s, etc.) which are equipped with painfully slow Panasonic Wi-Fi. Those planes do have seatback entertainment, however.

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Bob February 5, 2020 - 6:54 pm

United is going to announce that they’ll be (re)installing seatback IFE later this year…

ChadMC February 9, 2020 - 7:49 pm

Me personally I’d prefer a solid in flight entertainment system instead of wifi. I much prefer to just disconnect from the world for a few hours. In this super-connected world, I’d much rather be disconnected for a while.

747always February 10, 2020 - 3:15 am

People really need to learn how to disconnect. I love flying, because its those few hours where there is no incessant flood of notifications on my phone.
I always take one vacation a year to a random place where there is extremly limited cell service. Two years back I was in the Himalayas. Best week of my life.


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