Airline seats have been shrinking for some time, with airlines trying to reduce the planes’ weight and squeeze in more passengers. But lately, some carriers have been going one step further by taking away the seatback screens.

Ditching the seatback screens will shed both costs and weight, and a growing number of airlines may begin offering content which passengers can stream on their own devices instead, an article in the New York Times finds.

The article notes that American and United Airlines are taking this approach and phasing out screens on new short-haul aircraft in favour of content offerings that passengers can stream from their personal devices.


Hawaiian Airlines is going without seatback screens in its new A321 neo planes.  The airline’s chief commercial officer, Peter Ingram, is quoted as saying:

“With the 321, we recognised a couple of things that are changing in the environment around us that really informed our decision. The majority of people are showing up with a device of their own, and they’re ignoring the devices we offer in-seat.”

He added that the rapid pace of technological change means installed entertainment is soon obsolete.

However, in 2017, Delta, for example, rolled out free in-flight mobile messaging, and the airline is in the process of installing new screens as well as making more content available.

What do you think? Would you be happy to BYOD or is the move unfair to passengers?

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