Improvements to on board entertainment and WiFi experience - United Hub

Improvements to our on board entertainment and Wi-Fi experience

By The Hub team, April 12, 2018

We know that for a lot of our customers – business and leisure alike – the ability to connect online and use entertainment options while in flight plays an important role in choosing an airline. Having access to a reliable onboard connection is vital for our customers who need to finish up on work, check emails, stay connected or simply stay entertained throughout their entire journey.

United is an industry pioneer in offering satellite Wi-Fi and personal device entertainment (PDE), and we still have the largest fleet of satellite Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft worldwide. Last year, we noticed our Panasonic Wi-Fi product, which is the streaming service on many of our Airbus, 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft, wasn't as reliable as we would like, and we are took that as an opportunity to do better by making investments to improve this experience for our customers. Here are a number of steps we have taken and are still taking to do that:

  • More connection points - We are working with Panasonic to improve the quality of the Wireless Access Points (WAPs) on all of our Panasonic aircraft. These devices connect the user with the Wi-Fi and PDE on the aircraft. More and better WAPs mean more customers can tap into a strong, steady connection at the same time.
  • More bandwidth - We are also installing new broadband controllers on all the aircraft. These units connect the aircraft to the satellite network and will largely solve the outage issues we experience on our Panasonic fleets. In addition, the controllers will also increase throughput by over 20 times and allow for much quicker connection speeds.
  • More coverage - Panasonic is also adding satellites to its network, so our customers will benefit from better coverage, speed and bandwidth.

In addition to providing more reliable Wi-Fi, we have also recently expanded our PDE option to all aircraft with DIRECTV live streaming for purchase to provide at least one free entertainment option on all Wi-Fi equipped aircraft (which is any aircraft with more than 70 seats). Between February and April of this year, we installed personal device entertainment onto more than 200 aircraft that previously only offered DIRECTV. Customers can now use a personal laptop, Apple iOS device or Android device to access a library of complimentary movies and TV shows, in addition to having the opportunity to purchase DIRECTV to view live programming.

We are also committed to improving our entertainment options for customers with disabilities. Earlier this year, we began offering a new main menu category on seatback on-demand that is labeled Accessible Entertainment. This new section makes it easier for customers with hearing and vision challenges to find accessible entertainment options, grouping all of the titles that are either audio descriptive or closed captioned in one main menu category. Seatback on-demand is one of our entertainment options available on 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft.

Customers can download the latest United app to access personal device entertainment on Apple or Android mobile devices. They can also visit www.unitedprivatescreening.com to learn about what entertainment options are on their upcoming flight, watch movie trailers and filter content by language, genre, audio description and closed captioning availability.

We are always working on improving our product and making changes that will help us provide the consistent, high-quality connectivity our customers expect. These enhancements are a just a few of the investments we are working on that will improve your customer experience.

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