updated 10:25 pm EDT, Tue May 3, 2011
American Airlines plans in-flight video streaming
American Airlines said Tuesday that it was testing a new streaming video service for its in-flight Wi-Fi. Rather than use movies stored on the plane, it would pipe movies and TV to users' own devices from an on-plane collection. Platforms weren't named but, given the airline's existing app experience, would likely cover at least Android devices such as the Xoom as well as iPads and iPhones.
The Aircell-backed system was already being tested on two Boeing 767-200 cross-ocean jets and would be trialled with real customers early into the summer. An on-time FAA approval would have it ready for a full launch in the fall.
Along with the service, the carrier outlined a more straightforward plan to expand its service. It would address one of the most common complaints of in-air Wi-Fi, a lack of access on shorter hops, by adding Wi-Fi on its narrow-body aircraft. The expansion would also include 50 Boeing MD80s and 93 Boeing 757-200s. An upgrade for 737-200 jets was already in progress.
The new in-flight Internet would start rolling out in the summer and run through 2012.