Free TV, free music, but no free tickets

This has been the week of airline “freebies.” 

In this age of passengers paying for everything from luggage to seat location, some of the major air carriers are trying to convey a message of compassion and concern.

On Wednesday, United Airlines announced DIRECTV will now be free on some of its 737 jets – that’s more than 30,000 seats.

“This year, we will be introducing a series of innovations and improvements designed to help build a great experience for all our customers,” said United’s Chief Customer Officer, Toby Enqvist, in a press release.

American Airlines isn’t sitting idle.  It, too, is offering free entertainment by entering into a deal with Apple Music.  Passengers on the legacy carrier will be able to stream music and video on select domestic flights.

“Our customers want to make the most of their time when flying with us. That’s why we’re investing in high-speed Wi-Fi, the newest movies, live TV and now Apple Music,” said Janelle Anderson, Vice President of Global Marketing at American in a press release.

A sudden change of sorts from the front office.  Ancillary fees have helped airlines, big and small with their quarterly revenue.

While it may look nice to see these corporate giants exude some empathy at a time when planes are packed like a New York subway car during rush hour, will it truly win over business?   Perhaps it will prompt some passengers to choose one carrier’s flight over another; or will price ultimately prevail?

By:  Marc Stewart | February 1, 2019

Illustration By: Jorge de la Paz