American Airlines to Offer In-Flight Video Streaming Service

We’ve talked about how the love affair between airlines and the iPad has gained a lot of ground in 2011. Earlier this year, Delta Airlines and Alaska Airlines announced they were already testing the iPad for in-flight use by their pilots. In addition, Australian airline Jetstar gave the “green light” to the iPad as a in-flight entertainment device for A320 flights in Australia and Asia.

Enter American Airlines, which has announced its testing of “in-flight” streaming video for its WiFi service. This new service should allow you to purchase and stream movies and TV shows to your favorite WiFi-enabled devices during flight.

The new campaign is designed to make sure you stay productive during your flight, and also gives you the option to entertain yourself with a collection of movies and TV shows.

In case you’re not familiar with American Airlines’ WiFi service, the company partners with Aircell, which is a private company that develops broadband for both private and commercial aviation. Today, the WiFi service on several American Airlines flights uses Aircell’s air-to-ground technology to transmit data. However, given the amount of video content that many of us would like to stream, the new video streaming service will probably be supported by a server located on each plane to ensure a fast connection for all passengers.

“If all you’re interested in is watching a movie, this is a better choice,” said Doug Backelin, American Airlines’ manager of in-flight communications and technology.

The new service plans to introduce a selection of movies already released on the DVD market, and recently aired TV shows. Of course, Aircell needs to negotiate all this content with studios, but we expect the company to reach some deals rather quickly since you will be paying to consume this content.

According to USA Today, American thinks the streaming service will carry a price somewhat similar to what you already pay for “pay-per-view” movies at home. The prices could range anywhere from $3 to $5 for a movie, and $1 to $3 for a recently aired TV episode.

American Airlines is certainly trying to stay on the leading edge of technology. We expect other airlines to follow suit. After all, there are many iPad and iPhone users flying the friendly skies, as well as Android and notebook users out there.

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About Roberto: A blogger with a passion for applications, gadgets, new technologies, and everything new in this ever-changing technological world. Contact me via Twitter: @PG_Roberto