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Update on our Airbus Reconfigurations (Seats, Entertainment, Channel 9, etc.)

View Poll Results: How do you feel about the new RECARO seats UA is installing?
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1.84%
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9.63%
I am indifferent
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Update on our Airbus Reconfigurations (Seats, Entertainment, Channel 9, etc.)

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Old May 10, 13, 11:09 am
  #151  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Midwest
Programs: UA 1K, UA 1MM
Posts: 118
Airbus cabin upgrades

* Seat. Neutral for this average build passenger. The new seat looks just like a seat I had on an Alaska flight a few weeks ago on a 737-900, and I thought that seat was pretty nice. Most uncomfortable mainline seat I ever sat in was a DirectTV equipped Continental flight in E-, pre-merger, that Alaska seat was much better than that one, IMO. I had no trouble using the WiFi service and my laptop on that Alaska flight. In E+ the tray table should be a non-issue.

* WiFi. Big plus, huge, finally.

* No more dedicated, free IFE. A minus but I do understand the logic behind reducing weight and maintenance costs (how many headsets a year do they use and who handles them?) and this does seem to be the future, United can probably pay for this just with the gas saved. I agree that the bummer is no access to any electronic IFE at all from door close to 10,000 feet and on the descent below 10,000, and the way things are the time from door close to reaching 10,000 feet can be a very long time, bring your reading material. On the other hand, the dedicated IFE on the A319/320 is pretty limited, maybe one or two music channels on a fixed playlist and (maybe) one movie that changes every few weeks.

* Channel 9. A favorite of mine but getting harder and harder to find, I think the writing is on the wall. My sense is that a good number of pilots just don't like the passengers listening in and management is slowly losing this battle. Thumbs down.

* Seat power. On these planes this will be a new feature, can't see how it is anything but a plus for whatever rows get it. Agree that it will be badly needed if the IFE is going to a BYOD model, don't understand why it doesn't go in with the seats in the first place. Look for "which seats have room for your backpack to go under" to become a seat selection factor.

* IFE as ancillary revenue. I don't blame them for trying, although I do think United has shown that it will tend to under-weight the marginal customer loss from each decision to add a marginal cost to the trip value equation. I think competition will keep the charges down, both from the tablet you bring with you and other airlines, the same way that WiFi services in other areas are moving from fee based extra to complimentary, and expected, amenity.
BlackMountain is offline  
Old May 10, 13, 11:21 am
  #152  
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Aaron,

In addition to splitting my 500,000 miles each year between United and Delta, my profession is the design of IFE systems. Delta and United are my largest clients (hence my shared loyalty).

I just finished personally overseeing the creation and approval of installation of PSU-mounted IFE (what United currently has on its A320 fleet) on over 100 Delta A320 family aircraft paid ENTIRELY with ad revenue. A complete IFE system paid for, content paid for, safety videos, CBP videos, Delta promotional videos, all provided for free both to the airline and subsequently the passengers as a result of a handful of ads presented inflight.

United's decision to remove this entire system from its aircraft and its ability to generate revenue and replace it with a tempermental-at-best streaming service from Gogo seems ill-advised.

Your passengers will suffer and the airline will lose needed revenue (in Delta's case, over 1.2 mn per month). I urge you to reconsider.

To the passengers who don't care about the video, I am with you generally, but your audio goes with it, and since most of you only fly United, you haven't experienced how painful the wi-fi streaming video can be...especially when it's offered for free (too many users at a given time) and is the only source of onboard entertainment...
travelnlite84 is offline  
Old May 10, 13, 11:25 am
  #153  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
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Originally Posted by BlackMountain View Post
* WiFi. Big plus, huge, finally.
It's already here. It has already been installed on 30 of the Airbii. Including that separate mod amidst the crap as if it's part of one grand redesign is a way of softening the blow.
mgcsinc is offline  
Old May 10, 13, 11:28 am
  #154  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: New York
Programs: UA GS, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Gold
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Does anyone know, if this "on-demand wi-fi video" is streamed from the Internet, or if there is a local source of the content?

I suspect the former which would indeed make this potentially terrible, but if there were a local media server streaming over wifi it might be somewhat workable.

Edit: I found my own answer: "Streaming video from a website requires a lot of bandwidth and may not work as well on a plane as it does on the ground. Gogo's Entertainment on Demand only requires a small amount of bandwidth by accessing content stored on the aircraft."
villox is offline  
Old May 10, 13, 11:30 am
  #155  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Originally Posted by travelnlite84 View Post
Aaron,

In addition to splitting my 500,000 miles each year between United and Delta, my profession is the design of IFE systems. Delta and United are my largest clients (hence my shared loyalty).

I just finished personally overseeing the creation and approval of installation of PSU-mounted IFE (what United currently has on its A320 fleet) on over 100 Delta A320 family aircraft paid ENTIRELY with ad revenue. A complete IFE system paid for, content paid for, safety videos, CBP videos, Delta promotional videos, all provided for free both to the airline and subsequently the passengers as a result of a handful of ads presented inflight.

United's decision to remove this entire system from its aircraft and its ability to generate revenue and replace it with a tempermental-at-best streaming service from Gogo seems ill-advised.

Your passengers will suffer and the airline will lose needed revenue (in Delta's case, over 1.2 mn per month). I urge you to reconsider.

To the passengers who don't care about the video, I am with you generally, but your audio goes with it, and since most of you only fly United, you haven't experienced how painful the wi-fi streaming video can be...especially when it's offered for free (too many users at a given time) and is the only source of onboard entertainment...
So, you're the source of this misery?

Travelnlite84, it would be *impossible* for me to disagree with you more strongly than I do.

And, I'm really disappointed to hear that DL has gone with this cheap crappy obnoxious system as well.
FlyWorld is offline  
Old May 10, 13, 11:33 am
  #156  
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Originally Posted by bse118 View Post
I won't miss the video (especially if it means I have to watch less Jeff videos) but the audio is a bit of a loss.
This is the biggest win of the announcement.

Originally Posted by bse118 View Post
I'm apprehensive of these seats - even with the extra padding. And hopefully nothing untoward happens to Row 7 leg room...
+1

The UA Airbus seats were among the most comfortable of any domestic economy seat in the country. The fact that they're changing them is not likely to be good.


Originally Posted by unavaca View Post
I, for one, am looking forward to this upgrade. Wi-Fi is a huge ^^^. I won't miss the IFE once Wi-Fi is available.
They need to fix the technical issues with the WiFi. The signal is not as solid as GoGo on other carriers, and the pricing is still by flight (not monthly/annual).


Originally Posted by Sulley View Post
Hmm, live safety demonstrations on the other hand...
Should be fine. CO has been doing live demos on the 735s and their new "dark" planes for years. The UA folks can figure it out. The added bonus of no Smisek video is noted above.
channa is offline  
Old May 10, 13, 11:34 am
  #157  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Originally Posted by travelnlite84 View Post
replace it with a tempermental-at-best streaming service from Gogo seems ill-advised.
Isn't the wifi streaming AVOD installation going to be the Panasonic system that United will operate in-house?
EWR764 is offline  
Old May 10, 13, 11:35 am
  #158  
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Originally Posted by travelnlite84 View Post
A complete IFE system paid for, content paid for, safety videos, CBP videos, Delta promotional videos, all provided for free both to the airline and subsequently the passengers as a result of a handful of ads presented inflight.
Interesting. Care to quantify how many minutes per hour (or per flight) a 'handful' might be?
3Cforme is offline  
Old May 10, 13, 11:36 am
  #159  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by travelnlite84 View Post
Aaron,

In addition to splitting my 500,000 miles each year between United and Delta, my profession is the design of IFE systems. Delta and United are my largest clients (hence my shared loyalty).

I just finished personally overseeing the creation and approval of installation of PSU-mounted IFE (what United currently has on its A320 fleet) on over 100 Delta A320 family aircraft paid ENTIRELY with ad revenue. A complete IFE system paid for, content paid for, safety videos, CBP videos, Delta promotional videos, all provided for free both to the airline and subsequently the passengers as a result of a handful of ads presented inflight.

United's decision to remove this entire system from its aircraft and its ability to generate revenue and replace it with a tempermental-at-best streaming service from Gogo seems ill-advised.

Your passengers will suffer and the airline will lose needed revenue (in Delta's case, over 1.2 mn per month). I urge you to reconsider.

To the passengers who don't care about the video, I am with you generally, but your audio goes with it, and since most of you only fly United, you haven't experienced how painful the wi-fi streaming video can be...especially when it's offered for free (too many users at a given time) and is the only source of onboard entertainment...
Someone whose livelihood depends on their biggest clients buying their services thinks their client is making the wrong decision by not doing so?

And thinks a flyertalk is the best place to lobby them otherwise?

Seems odd.
villox is offline  
Old May 10, 13, 11:37 am
  #160  
 
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Originally Posted by FWAAA View Post
UA is not adding an additional inch of seat pitch; UA is taking away an inch of seat pitch.

Seat pitch is the distance between between rows of seats. For instance, measure the distance between a floor mounting bolt on your seat and the same bolt on the seat ahead or behind yours. That distance is seat pitch, and UA is removing one inch so that an additional row can be jammed in (just like Southwest).
No, seat pitch is measured from the front of the cushion on the vertical part of the seat (where your back rests against your seat) to the back of the vertical portion of the seat in front of you.

If you make the seats and/or cushions thinner, the pitch will increase if the seats are mounted in the same position.

Originally Posted by mitchmu View Post

1. The more recline, the more comfort for the passenger
I disagree. The more the seat in front of me reclines, the less comfortable and more annoying it is to me.

Originally Posted by BlackMountain View Post
The new seat looks just like a seat I had on an Alaska flight a few weeks ago on a 737-900, and I thought that seat was pretty nice. Most uncomfortable mainline seat I ever sat in was a DirectTV equipped Continental flight in E-, pre-merger, that Alaska seat was much better than that one, IMO. I had no trouble using the WiFi service and my laptop on that Alaska flight. In E+ the tray table should be a non-issue.
On LH, on which I have flown multiple times, if the person in front of you reclines, you are not using a laptop.
Always Flyin is offline  
Old May 10, 13, 11:37 am
  #161  
 
Join Date: May 2011
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Originally Posted by villox View Post
Does anyone know, if this "on-demand wi-fi video" is streamed from the Internet, or if there is a local source of the content?

I suspect the former which would indeed make this potentially terrible, but if there were a local media server streaming over wifi it might be somewhat workable.
It is local -- but, like the previous poster said, there's still a limit to how much video WiFi can stream over locally. It will be taxed heavily especially if it's the only source of IFE.

Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
Isn't the wifi streaming AVOD installation going to be the Panasonic system that United will operate in-house?
Correct -- the panasonic system is Satellite based WiFi. Gogo (cell/land based) Wifi which (IMO) seems more reliable at the moment is on PS flights. Those are due to be upgraded as well but will remain Gogo.
edcho is offline  
Old May 10, 13, 11:39 am
  #162  
 
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Originally Posted by villox View Post
Does anyone know, if this "on-demand wi-fi video" is streamed from the Internet, or if there is a local source of the content?

I suspect the former which would indeed make this potentially terrible, but if there were a local media server streaming over wifi it might be somewhat workable.

Edit: I found my own answer: "Streaming video from a website requires a lot of bandwidth and may not work as well on a plane as it does on the ground. Gogo's Entertainment on Demand only requires a small amount of bandwidth by accessing content stored on the aircraft."
There is supposed to be a media server on board for VOD content.
smorris76 is offline  
Old May 10, 13, 11:41 am
  #163  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
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Originally Posted by Always Flyin View Post
No, seat pitch is measured from the front of the cushion on the vertical part of the seat (where your back rests against your seat) to the back of the vertical portion of the seat in front of you.

If you make the seats and/or cushions thinner, the pitch will increase if the seats are mounted in the same position.
False. Seat pitch is point-to-same-point.
mgcsinc is offline  
Old May 10, 13, 11:42 am
  #164  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Originally Posted by smorris76 View Post
There is supposed to be a media server on board for VOD content.
I just hope they don't stream any content that is offensive to anyone above the lowest common denominator.

If they start offering more interesting material, then we'll have emergency diversions to throw out angry parents more often and that will blow the on time arrival rate.
FlyWorld is offline  
Old May 10, 13, 11:48 am
  #165  
 
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Originally Posted by smorris76 View Post
There is supposed to be a media server on board for VOD content.
I mean, this is either going to work well or it won't - the only way I'll keep paying for it is if it does, but I'll gladly pay if so.

I don't even rely on AVOD for int'l flights to entertain me, I always have my own. That some on here are touting virtues of single-screen content is mind-blowing to me.
villox is offline  

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