United's Wireless Entertainment

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by HiIslands, Dec 11, 2013.  |  Print Topic

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What do you think of United's "wireless to personal device" initiative?

  1. Okay with me

    14 vote(s)
    63.6%
  2. Okay only if offered alongside traditional inflight entertainment

    7 vote(s)
    31.8%
  3. Prefer hardwired entertainment systems

    1 vote(s)
    4.5%
  1. HiIslands
    Original Member

    HiIslands Silver Member

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    I flew on a 777-200 ORD-HNL yesterday that offered only wireless entertainment on your own device and using your own headphones. The movies were free and the selection was quite good. The reception was excellent and there were only a few minor stutters throughout the two movies I watched. There were 3 technical staff members on board to help passengers, although the only complaint (mainly among elderly travelers) seemed to be that they didn't have the devices to stream the video.

    There were no video monitors, audio connections or audio entertainment, power ports or Internet connectivity. Safety demos were done live. When announcements were made the video paused and shrunk from full screen to a control panel image on my iPad.

    I received an email from United the night before the flight alerting me to the services offered and suggesting I bring a fully charged device with headphones:
    United  R.jpg

    The "Learn more" link takes you to:
    https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/inflight/entertainment/wireless-entertainment.aspx
    This primarily explains system requirements.

    The equipment used on this flight was a Version 6 777-200:
    https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/inflight/aircraft/777/200/v6.aspx
    Note that Wi-Fi and power outlets are listed as "coming soon".

    Apparently there were enough unhappy passengers that United felt it necessary to send everyone "Customer Appreciation" vouchers for "problems with the entertainment system". Their email was waiting for me when I got off of the flight.
     
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  2. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    It would be really wise for UA to make sure there is power installed at every seat on those aircraft. I think the future for IFE is this type of system, but I also believe UA may be a few years ahead of the game on this. Passenger expectations, especially on a flight to a place like Hawaii, are still set to expect a movie to be projected either overhead, or on seatback monitors, with audio selections to also be available. Eventually that will change, but right now, that's not the case, and the competition is still using more traditional IFE systems. It may be a few years before passenger expectations change, and until then, UA is likely to have some disappointed customers.
     
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  3. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    I was on UA219 last Saturday and the system was broken so they sent these out to apologize.
     
  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    UA has made it pretty clear (to those of us geeks who are paying all too much attention) that domestic flights are going to be BYOD in the VERY near future. And, yes, that includes Hawaii. I'm glad to see that they are getting the systems installed and functional so quickly.
     
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  5. Flyer1976
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    I wouldn't say functional as it's been flying around broken for two weeks now. :oops:
     
  6. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    The wifi on my PIT-LAX flight last Friday didnt work. I just submitted a refund claim today :(

    After paying for the service, I would try to go to sites like Espn.com or CNN.com, but the system kept directing me back to the wifi system landing page.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  7. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    Annnd, no Android compatibility. Weak.

    Also, given they're using HTML5 video and a launch date of yesterday, I predict UA's entire media library copied off and posted publicly by next Tuesday.
     
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  8. COFlyerCLE
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    COFlyerCLE Gold Member

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    Honestly, I think putting a system like this in place without power is downright stupid. I welcome the approach of the BYOD, but without in-seat power at the same time - it's pretty much a #fail.

    And just from a logistic standpoint - I don't understand why UA is doing installs in such an incremental manner. WiFi at one time, BYOD entertainment at another time, power installs on a completely different timeframe. Just take the plane out of service once and make it whole. :(:rolleyes:
     
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  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Different system or different part of the same system, depending on how it is provisioned. Though I agree that the wifi deployment has been quite troubled.
     
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  10. gaijin62

    gaijin62 Gold Member

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    Why do I need streaming? If I have to bring my own device, I'll just load up videos I want to watch and do that instead of watching airline edited films.
     
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  11. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    Actually, the system I used the other day was functioning quite nicely. The complaints I witnessed were from those without devices or with devices that could not stream (android). And the complaints to the staff were quite vocal and persistent.
     
  12. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    I have to admit, they had a nice selection of films, both old and new. They had films I probably wouldn't have thought about uploading prior to the flight. And the films were either not edited or very minimally edited. I watched "In the Valley of Elah" and there were a lot of scenes that would have never made it to the overhead screens on United.
     
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  13. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    Yeah there's a absolutely no excuse for this system not being launched with compatibility for Android, and it really should have had Windows Phone support at launch too.
     
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  14. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    My understanding is that the goal is to have power at all seats forward of exit rows - to differentiate E+ further - unless already installed everywhere.

    I agree wholeheartedly that the current situation is really screwed up and it's impossible to predict what amenities will be on your flight before boarding...or until cruising altitude in some cases. They also should have loaner devices available (for a fee) and figure out a way to provide audio-only entertainment to phones.
     
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  15. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    If you have a phone capable of streaming media via Wi-Fi, you have a phone capable of playing locally stored music. Seems like in that situation you'd have music already on your device, no?
     
  16. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    Maybe. My collection is not kept locally; I use Google Music to store music in the cloud. Amazon and iTunes offer cloud storage, and a lot of people use Internet radio apps. I imagine the number of people storing their music library on their phones is not as high as it used to be.
     
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  17. HaveMilesWillTravel
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  18. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    I think this idea is great! And thanks for introducing me to Little Free Libraries.
     
  19. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    I use Google Music as well. But I also know that the vast majority of my listening is on airplanes, and Google Music makes it extremely easy to store selected playlists, albums, and artists offline. That also helps cut down on my data usage when on the ground as well. I'm not sure why you wouldn't use that feature to at least have some of your collection available for offline use.
     
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  20. ssullivan
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    A better location would be the old unused magazine racks that still exist near the front galley of many airplanes. That way there's no reduction in overhead storage space, which is already at a premium on most flights, thanks to luggage fees.
     
  21. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    So what is the content they are streaming? Is it free or is this an ancillary revenue product?
     
  22. ssullivan
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    Sounds like it's free, as no mentions have been made of any charges in this thread, or in the screenshot of the email UA sent.
     
  23. Wandering Aramean
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    Indeed. The second sentence of the original post quite clearly indicates that the content was free.
    :-:
     
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  24. Seacarl
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    Yeah, I'm jet-lagged.
     
  25. avflyer
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    avflyer Silver Member

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    I always like this. You can pretty much gauge what you are going to run up against unless there is a last minute A/C change. Kinda geeky but it gets the job done.

    https://sites.google.com/site/unitedfleetsite/
     
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