Some passengers flying on American Airlines will find something special in the air — a Samsung Galaxy Tab to play with during their flight. American Airlines announced that starting today it will offer the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab to customers flying in premium class cabins on select flights. American says it’s the first domestic airline to offer a branded tablet onboard its aircraft to passengers. Google has offered its Chromebook notebook on certain Virgin America flights for months and other airlines may follow American by offering tablets to passengers.
American had announced its plans to offer 6,000 Galaxy Tabs with a customized interface to passengers earlier this summer, so this week’s announcement is not a surprise. But it comes, ironically, a day after the airline announced it received FAA approval to allow its pilots to use iPads in the cockpit instead of traditional, much heavier flight manuals.
As for the Galaxy Tabs, American said the customized tablets replace the current personal entertainment devices in American's First and Business Class cabins on transcontinental flights between New York's JFK and Los Angeles, JFK and San Francisco, Miami and San Francisco, and Miami and Los Angeles served with 767-200 and 767-300 aircraft; international flights to and from Europe and South America served with 767-300 aircraft; and transcontinental flights between Boston and Los Angeles served with 757 aircraft.
"We continue to move forward with our efforts to modernize the travel experience by using the innovative Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 to provide inflight entertainment onboard," said Rob Friedman, American's VP of Marketing, in a release. "Today's news is the latest in a series of investments we've made in our focus on product and service enhancements for our premium customers, and we know they will be delighted with the contemporary entertainment experience of the tablet."
During the initial rollout, customers can choose from over 70 movies, including 30 new releases, with three titles exclusive to American from Paramount, as well as a variety of television programs and audio selections. American said the choices have all been “carefully chosen to cater to the diverse tastes of American's premium cabin customers.”
American said it plans to offer additional tablet functionality and content beginning in the first quarter of 2012, and will include Wi-Fi capability on equipped aircraft, games and eReader publications.