Starting today, a select few United Airlines customers will be able to plug their iPods and iPhones into their flight's in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems and watch the content from their own devices on the seatback's 15.4-inch displays--and their iPods and iPhones will also charge while doing it. Using IFE systems developed by Panasonic Avionics, "United is the first U.S. carrier to offer iPod and iPhone connectivity to its in-flight entertainment system."
As we reported last month, Singapore Airlines was the first air carrier to offer iPod and iPhone connectivity on five of its Airbus A340-500 planes. Singapore Airlines is also using IFE systems from Panasonic Avionics. The IFE systems connect to iPods and iPhones through a 30-pin connector cable.
United only has one plane to date outfitted with the iPod and iPhone connectivity. That plane is a Boeing 767-300, which lifted off at 5:30pm from Washington D.C., bound for Zurich. The plane "will fly primarily on trans-Atlantic routes. United's entire fleet of international, widebody aircraft are being reconfigured over the next two years with lie-flat seats, on-demand entertainment, and iPod and iPhone connectivity in first and business class."
As with Singapore Airlines' implementation of the technology, United's iPod and iPhone IFE-connectivity service will be available only to premium service customers. If it is going take United a full two years to just upgrade the first class and business class cabins of its international route aircraft, we wouldn't hold our collective breath for seeing the technology trickle down to economy class anytime soon. To that, we say: Enough is enough! We have had it with these !@#$% iPods on theses !@#$% planes!