In this day and age, many of us are completely inable to step foot outside our apartments or houses without our smartphones in hand. So, we’re definitely not taking a trip without those personal devices. Because millennials are known to board planes with a fully charged phone, a laptop loaded with plenty of shows and movies, and sometimes even a tablet containing our entire personal library of books, some of us may have never even used those seatback screens to access in-flight entertainment. For that reason, according to the New York Times, seatback screens are beginning to disappear.
Of course, it’s not just millennials who are opting to use their own personal devices loaded with their own selection of media. Hawaiian Airlines' chief commercial officer Peter Ingram told the NYT, "The majority of people are showing up with a device of their own, and they’re ignoring the devices we offer in-seat." This shift has caused the airline to remove in-flight entertainment from all new A321 neo planes. That means, next time you find yourself boarding one of those planes, make sure to BYOD (bring your own device).
There are a few other factors contributing to airlines removing in-flight entertainment screens. The devices are expensive to install, they add a lot to aircraft weight, and they become dated quickly because technology moves so rapidly. So, it makes sense that, according to the NYT, many airlines, like American and United, are now focusing on offerings content that can be streamed by travelers through those personal devices they're already traveling with. You may notice the screen is missing from the seat back in front of you next time you get on a flight.
The only drawback to this change is that if for some reason you find yourself without a personal device (a nightmare in any situation, but especially while traveling) you're going to be really bored. Though many of us regard our phones are a security blanket, things happen: Laptops and smartphones die and tablets get accidentally left at home. With the BYOD policy that's becoming ever more popular, it's important to be prepared. May we suggest boarding every plane with plenty of in-flight cocktail recipes, air travel-approved beauty products, and some of this year's best books that don't necessarily have to be read off of a screen.