United to give free in-flight movies, TV for laptops and iOS while Android is grounded


Got an upcoming flight on United(s ual) in April or beyond? Make sure you pack your iPad(s aapl), iPhone, iPod touch or laptop in a carry-on because you’ll have access to free movies and TV shows over Wi-Fi during the flight, according to PatentlyApple. And you’ll be able to pause or rewind content you might missed when paying attention to the drink cart, notes the LA Times.

Airplane Sunset

United Airlines will offer 150 movies and nearly 200 television programs to compatible devices. Not only is the content available at no charge; you won’t even have to pay for the Wi-Fi connection since you’ll be using an on-board network. Flyers that want to browse the web and access sites back on the ground will still have to pay for in-flight access as that will use satellite service for the connection.

The content will stream directly through United’s iOS app although laptop users will have to install a browser plug-in to watch movies or television programs. But if you have an Android(s goog) phone or tablet, you’re out of luck for now.

I strongly suspect the reason for that is because there are so many different Android device models as well as various versions of Android running on them. There’s simply no way that United can guarantee a good experience on every Android device and it wouldn’t want its flight attendants to play the role of I.T. support personnel in that case.

Although the new system will be in place by next month on some United planes, it will take all year before the majority of aircraft have the necessary equipment installed for the service.


Wayne Reid

What the article is really saying is that United doesn’t know how to hire programmers with a clue. Makes me feel better about the rest of the software based services they provide.

Anthony Tanas

Kevin, the airlines aren’t keen on giving freebies these days. What’s the story here? Maybe the mobile data access is too taxing on the airborne system and they want to take some pressure off?

Rann Xeroxx

So what the title should say is iOS and Full Windows tablets, enjoy your free movies.

Steven L.

“There’s simply no way that United can guarantee a good experience on every Android device”

It’s like people have never heard of HTML5 video.

Steven L.

And yes, DRM is possible in HTML5 if EME is used. Chrome on Android supports it.


So my Nexus 5 or the wife’s GS4 is no good, but if I can find an iPod somewhere in a cupboard that’ll work?

That makes sense.


What laptops? Windows-based laptops? MacBook laptops? ChromeBooks?

Anthony Tanas

Good question. I would suspect certainly Windows and probably Mac…depends on the underlying client technologies used.

Elvoid Walker IV

If you are using a version of Android that is below Honeycomb then you deserve not being able to watch movies on their airlines.


I don’t see a problem here. If I don’t own an iOS device, United can either loan me one or give me a discount on the flight. Simple.

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