According to a report from Patently Apple, United will start the program in April, at which time passengers with either laptops or iOS devices that have the latest iOS 7 update will be able to stream content through the United app. Before boarding, customers must download the United app and fully charge their devices to access the content. Some laptops will require the download of a browser plug-in. Once those steps are complete, the service will offer 150 movies and more than 200 television episodes for free, without having to pay the fee to access the craft’s Wi-Fi.
“Most planes will be equipped with the new system very soon, and we’ll have it installed on most domestic aircraft by the end of 2014. We’ll begin on Airbus A319, Airbus A320, Boeing 747-400 and select 777-200 aircraft, followed by additional fleets. In the end, all United-operated flights will have some form of entertainment,” United said in a statement to Patently Apple.
The move comes as more passengers prefer to access entertainment on their own devices rather than screens installed in the back of airplane seats. “We have so many more customers who have mobile devices, and when they fly they’re looking for content to keep them entertained,” United spokeswoman Karen May said to the Chicago Times. “Overall on our mainline fleet we plan to have WiFi as well as an inflight entertainment option that offers our customers a form of choice. … We are particularly looking at personal-device entertainment.”