American Airlines Boeing 767

American Airlines Boeing 767

This adventure and write up was completed by Temo Madrigal, AirlineReporter Correspondent. Enjoy…

The best things in life are free. Well, not always. Sometimes they will cost you anywhere between 0.99¢ to $3.99. I recently had the opportunity to test out American Airlines new in-flight entertainment system (called Entertainment on Demand) on a flight from New York to Los Angeles and this was a good opportunity for me to see if my money would be well spent.

Before boarding the plane I had to make sure that all of my electronics were fully charged, just in case the movie options were not to my liking. I had my mp3 player, my tablet, laptop, and if all of those options became boring on my 6 hour flight, I would simply resort to my good’ole fashioned book. I had not seen any advertisements on the new In-flight Entertainment System in the terminal, so was keeping a lookout for the first glimpse of what was to come.

Before take-off, I sifted through the front seat pocket and found a pamphlet with information highlighting GoGo’s services that include Wi-Fi and the In-Flight Entertainment Service. The information on the pamphlet was simple and clear but still left me wanting to see it in action. As we prepared to take off the emergency instruction video played and shortly after a 2 minute commercial on the GoGo IFE was played as well. It also let the passengers know that it was simple and easy to navigate. It made me think that even my 8 year old could sign-up and choose her movies.

Watching what the airline wants you to watch during the flight is so 1999.

Watching what the airline wants you to watch during the flight is so 1999.

Once we were at the appropriate altitude that allows for electronics use and after about 45 minutes of some technical issues with my personal laptop, I was able to connect to the GoGo website and begin my entertainment adventure. I have to say that navigating the IFE was as easy as 1-2-3 (okay there is a 4th step, but it is sitting back and enjoying your movie). You go to the website, sign-up and add your credit card information, select a movie/tv show, and watch.

Movie selections are currently limited to 18 movies with selections in most genres (i.e. comedy, action, drama, etc.). The cost of a movie is $3.99, which is comparable to what you would get at Block Buster or your local movie rental store. Movies included Due Date, Arthur, Jane Eyre, The Adjustment Bureau, The Eagle and the Kingdom. Each movie also provided a short description and the movie rating. Dad mode kicked in and I was interested in knowing the options for kids.

There are currently only two selections, The Green Lantern animated and Nanny McPhee. I asked Jason Cohen, who works for GoGo was on the flight, about this and was told that because this is currently the test phase, the selections are limited and by November 1st, 2012 the selections of movies and TV Shows will be increased to 200. Of which 18 will be in the children’s genre.

The TV show selection was the most limited, only offering 30 Rock and Royal Pains, with only 10 episodes of each. The cost of renting an episode is 99¢, and this is the same as what you would find on iTunes for a TV show rental. Browsing these selections are made easy and my favorite was the browse by length of movie or TV Show option (i.e. 30 minutes, 1 hour, 1-2 hours or over 2 hours). I opted for a 30 minute TV show (30 Rock) to begin with because I assumed that the buffering would be terrible and streaming would be choppy. This was not the case at all. The video quality was crisp and clear and the streaming was flawless with no buffering stops. I was truly surprised.

It only takes a few steps to get yourself watching movies or TV shows.

It only takes a few steps to get yourself watching movies or TV shows.

I thought to myself, I’ll try and navigate the web and watch the movie at the same time and I’m sure it will cause a buffering issue. Did it, and again, was not the case. I was able to watch the TV show, navigate the web, and check my email at the same time. I truly enjoyed having all of the options and not cause an issue with the streaming the tv show.

I was lucky enough to have Jason on board to help me and answer any questions, but if you don’t have a Jason on your flight, no worries, GoGo also has live help via chat. I took the opportunity to chat with Seth just to test out the service option. I asked Seth a few general questions but one of the most important ones that I could think of that other users would ask is, “What if I don’t finish watching the movie on my flight?” Seth let me know that I would be able to go back into the same webpage and continue watching the same movie at a later time (maybe the connecting flight if wi-fi is available) as long as it was from the same laptop I was using the first time and within 24 hours of purchase for movies, and 10 days for tv shows.

American has rolled out this new service on 15 of their Boeing 767-200 aircraft, primarily serving the New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco routes.  American is hoping to roll out this feature on other GoGo equipped aircraft starting later this year. One downside of featuring this on the 767 is they only have power outlets in Business and select economy seats found near the front of the aircraft. I was sitting in the rear and if I would have been watching movies non-stop, my laptop would have ran out of juice before arriving at LAX. American is in process of installing additional powerports across their fleet.

There were no issues with bandwidth. I was able to stream my show and work on my email with no slow down.

There were no issues with bandwidth. I was able to stream my show and work on my email with no slow down.

Although the movie and TV show selection is currently limited, Jason explained that GoGo will be adding up to 200 movies soon and they will be rotated out every month. He also explained that that number would possibly go up depending on the demand from customers. I know some people might also think, “For $3.99, why don’t I just rent a DVD at Redbox and return it at my destination?” Well, that sounds great, but there a few things to consider: What if there are no Redboxes at your destination? And will the time and hassle it takes to find the redbox and return it be worth it? I would not want to go through the hassle and really a few bucks to make my flight go by quicker is always worth it.

American and GoGo are not willing to talk about how many passengers are currently using the new Entertainment on Demand, but they obviously feel this will be a successful venture with looking to add it to other aircraft. I hope to get the opportunity to use this feature again soon. Thanks American and GoGo for letting me and AirlineReporter.com try out your new service. Cheers!

Boeing 767 Image: So Cal Metro
Others: Temo Madrigal

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29 Comments

The studios are as yet reticent to give clearance for early window content for wireless IFE. I’ve heard that Universal has been the most receptive to Gogo’s solution to date.

That is a good point about movie studios having issues with releasing their movies on the airlines. I doubt there will be a big market of people pirating movies while flying.

David

Laurie O.

Very informative article, Temo–good job! I always am suckered in to purchasing a movie or tv show…anything to make the coast to coast flights go by faster! Look forward to your future articles!

Isabel Uvalle

Great story. We returned from a flight from Orlando and it would have been nice to have this on our plane. The movies you mention are probably are for older kids. I would definitely buy Dora the Explorer tv shows for 99 cents on a flight.

Jose L. Espindola

I liked the movies you mentioned in your article and I’m wondering if GoGo would be able to have access to Early Screening movies for an additional $4.00 to $10.00. In my travels I have seen early screening (in theaters) movies for what you would purchase at the theater itself. I hope that American Airlines provides the IFE on all of their planes soon. I would rent.

Jaime Medrano

Great review! I will definitely be checking out GoGo on my next American flight.

Doctor Smith

I’ve been using GoGo for a while and it really does make flights seem a lot faster and a lot more entertaining – very cool –

Angelica E.

I really liked the article. I’m glad that airlines and companies like GoGo are coming up with different options for travelers. I too would like to see more options for children (i.e. My Little Pony, the Barbie Movie Series, and Dora the Explorer). Vampire tv shows are big now too. Maybe True Blood?

Does AA offer any free IFE on these flights, via a seatback or overhead screen, or is paying to stream on your laptop the only option?

Hello Mantini,

AA does offer entertainment (a movie and an episode of The Office) during the flight. The movie that was playing was “Arthur” which I believe is a comedy. I’m not a big fan of the comedian in that movie, so I was happy that the IFE was available on my flight. That, and not having to look up at the screen over peoples heads. I’m a short guy, so if a tall person sits in the seat in front of me, its makes for a neck ache.

Thanks for the informative post, Correspondent Temo! I have used GoGo a few times and I’m glad you put the bandwidth to the test!

Jessica P.

Very informative and well written article! I like the idea of having more options for adults and children, especially children as they get restless on long flights. Great review!!

seems like moving forward wifi will make something like this kinda silly… why wouldn’t i stream from my netflix account/hulu or something else that is free or I’m already paying for?

For now bandwidth. These movies are stored on the aircraft and accessed via Wi-Fi on board. Plus GoGo limits streaming content like Netflix or Hulu, but I would imagine that will change as bandwidth is increased.

Plus these are movies that are out of the theaters and not on DVD yet, so you wouldn’t have access to them via online.

David

I love this writer

Like I said, moving forward it seems like this type of system has no future. There might be a small period of time where this sort of thing makes sense…

I agree with you Josh, but if you are like me who does not subscribe to hulu premium (and their basic options for children are terrible) and have recently cancelled my netflix account (as have 1 million other former members), this is an excellent option. Millions rent movies from iTunes, amazon, etc. This is simply another option and I feel it won’t be going away anytime soon.

Temo, AirlineReporter.com

Does this work internationally? Considering the amount AA flies their B767-300ER fleet outside the US and how much they could use an AVOD offering to match their Oneworld partners this seems like the best opportunity for GoGo IFE.

Not a bad article. The prices are a little steep for those on a budget. It’s cheaper to rent from REDBOX and watch the movies inflight. I understand there will be a time issue when traveling across the country but one could email REDBOX if late fees are added.

Temo X. Madrigal

Big C: If you check out itunes and amazon, the prices are comparable or the same via those two entertainment providers. I have actually called REDBOX before and not only have I been on hold anywhere from 15-25 minutes to speak to a representative, I have only received refunds when the actual kiosk is not functioning and cannot take my return. There are no late fees for REDBOX, they simply add a dollar to every night you keep the rental.

I am a stay-at-home-dad with a strict budget so I completely understand what you are saying. In my article I mention REDBOX and the possibility of it not being convenient and budget savvy because of the time and distance of the nearest kiosk. For example, during this trip the hotel where I was staying at and the closest kiosk were 2.9 miles from each other. This hotel was in the middle of Time-Square, New York. I feel it would not been convenient or cost effective for me to rent at REDBOX and try to return it in the busy streets of Manhattan at 8:00 PM. Now, if REDBOX was available at each airport, then it would be very cost effective. Don’t you think?

Thank you for your comment. I greatly appreciate it.

– Temo, AirlineReporter.com

Temo-
By late fees, I meant getting charged an additional dollar because you could not return it before 9pm like you wanted too. Therefore you are paying an additional dollar because you got to the Kiosk late.

I am sorry you are having complications with REDBOX. I used to call them but since I am on a stricter budget than yourself, I chat or email them to save my minutes. I am on the unlimited internet plan. When my minutes are used up, they are gone and I never see them again. The REDBOXES must be very greedy in Washington. In Indiana, they are economically friendly. I email/chat with them for any little issue I have with either the Kiosk, DVD, or the convience of one. In return they send me free codes for my troubles. Maybe you should move here. I hear Logansport and Walton are good areas. Plainfield is good as well. Keep up the good work.

Great writing and a great article, X! Keep up the good work, my man.

Scott @ Gogo

Excellent review – thanks for taking the time to write this up.

Cool aricle. I look forward to trying this out too! Watching movies on flights is always fun for me, it’s just some flights don’t do it or only show one movie when they could have shown two–so this sounds great.

How long was the flight from NY to LA? For someone (like me) with a serious need for distraction from the discomfort of a plane seat, the flight could get a bit pricey at $3.99/$.99 a pop! Also, does the GoGo system disable streaming? I still have Netflix and can stream movies; would it allow that through the internet browser?

In comparison, it sounds like a competitive price point, and it sounds like the service is spectacular (no buffering delays?! Can’t get service like that at home!)!

Great piece, thanks Temo!

Interesting evolution of entertainment on planes. What I’m curious to see how this will play nice, or not, with the inboard entertainment systems that are already present on many planes (Delta anyhow.) will this ultimately be the ONLY option on planes, or will one wet of movies be available on the plane’s entertainment systems, while GoGo has others?

One way or another, we’re going to continue paying a lot for watching some videos.

I agree with AaronW – it makes sense the airlines would want to add another convenience for it’s customers, but I wonder if/when they would try to make it the only movie option available on the plane considering all of the multi media resources the majority of travelers carry on. Regardless, this is a fantastic option for those (like myself) who often forget to bring plane friendly entertainment and end up paying an outrageous price for a magazine or book in the airport stores 🙂

Thanks Temo!

Misty Lay

Good article. I am curious though as to how much the inflight entertainment costs really are for the airlines. I recently did a flight on TAM in Brazil where everything was provided for free (Movies, TV, Games, Etc.). It was by FAR the best flight I’ve ever been on. Can it really cost the airlines that much to provide these services to customers once they’ve paid the royalties on the movie??

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