American, United to phase out seatback screens from its most-used planes

Alaska Airlines is doing the same.
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Domestic travelers flying with American, United and Alaska airlines from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport can expect to see fewer seatback screens on their planes going forward.

That's because the airline giants have confirmed they will be removing screens from planes that are most used for flights within the U.S., namely its Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg last week, saying that the advances in onboard Wi-Fi is seen as a reason to scrap the screens, which add weight and fuel cost to every flight, and instead encourage passengers to use their smart devices.

Bloomberg reports that American Airlines says that not only do the screens add weight and costs, but the screen technology is also quickly outstripped by the advances in mobile devices.

Seatback screens tend to be found on all flights across the Atlantic and the Pacific, but it's hit and miss when it comes to domestic flights with the main carriers, though they're most commonly found on cross-country flights between the East and West coasts.

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Some airlines, like Delta and JetBlue, intend to keep on with the seatback screens, while Southwest Airlines has never had them on its 737s, Bloomberg notes.

Delta, the largest airline at MSP, might therefore have an advantage over its rivals by keeping the screens, with the J.D. Power airline satisfaction survey for 2019 noting that passengers like them.

"Specific in-flight amenities that have the greatest positive effect on customer satisfaction are fresh food, seatback games and seatback live television," the survey found.

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