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5 hour flight and no IFE system?

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I flew from KEWR to KLAS last week on United.  We were on a 737-800/900.  It was a 5 hour painful flight in Premium economy.  There was no inflight entertainment system.  It was an empty hole with magazine, menu, barf bag and safety info.  On top of that physical comfort was out the window.  The seats have no cushion, and have somewhat of a hole (kind a bucket like support) with a bar of sorts sticking you in the rear. The back curvature was awful too.   I flew on a 737 recently as well and had similar awful seat.   Is this what is becoming of flying?  A couple years ago it was a 757 with IFE and reasonable seats.  Living in northern NJ we only have one descent option for flying and that's EWR.  I really didn't want a stopover adding another 2 plus hours to a long flight with another airline.

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Most of the UAL B738s have Direct TV and most of the newer B739s don't. Today, some airlines are well aware that customers commonly have their own devices (e.g. iPhone, iPad, Amazon tablet, etc.) and are reluctant to continue to make the IFE investment. However, as a cable news junkie, I hear your pain. 

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I flew a Boeing 737-700 that didn't have any in-flight entertainment. Seeing as the flight from CLE to EWR was less than an hour long, I didn't see a point in pulling out my computer to purchase the Wi-FI. Ended up just constantly refreshing the flight tracker on my phone.

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Did the flight have United's Personal Device Entertainment? Note this is not the same as plain wi-fi. You can use your own phone or tablet to get free movies and TV shows.

https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/inflight/entertainment/personal-device-entertainment.aspx

Many people these days also make use of the download option on Netflix to download shows to their own tablet. Or maybe rent from iTunes or Google Play.

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Try flying from Chicago to Amman on an A340 with no PTVs. 5 hours isn't that bad. Read a book, take a nap, or listen to some music. 

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OMG :laugh: no IFE

My first longdistance flight was LSZH to RJTT on a Swissair DC8 (with a couple of intermediate stops). The only entertainment were newspapers and my books. There followed many others like that flight...

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My first long distance was also on a DC-8 from Gatwick to Bangor. Maine. It should have been Denver,, but headwinds put paid to that idea. I think there was a movie, but as Erhard says, there were the inflight magazine, newspaper.... and i had a window seat! I was a young 16 year old and it was my first flight in an airliner.

At least i had a bit of legroom. I dozed off a couple of times, but the first airliner flight ever meant I wasn't bored for too long. wow.... look at the view...wow, we're flying... wow free drinks (non alcoholic!)... wow look at the view.... wow look at the stewardesses.. :blush: :happy:  wow...   You get the picture!

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17 hours ago, A340Bangla said:

OMG :laugh: no IFE

My first longdistance flight was LSZH to RJTT on a Swissair DC8 (with a couple of intermediate stops). The only entertainment were newspapers and my books. There followed many others like that flight...


Have to agree with the last two comments. Just returned from the Canary Islands on a 4.5 hour flight on Ryanair, sitting on the side with just a view of the ocean for most of the flight. But I had music to listen to and a book, that was plenty.

If it was 7 hours or longer, then yes, I could understand gripes regarding a lack of IFE.
 

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Yep, should not be complaining,  I did have some music on my android phone. I think it was  a -900, the plastic seemed newer and the overhead bins droppped down.  I just got back on definitely an 800, the overhead bins did not move.  

 I used to fly 10 hour flights JFK to Athens/Rome then  Cairo without IFE in the 80s.  I remember those plastic drooping headphones.  You only recognized one song on the of the channels.

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I always have an audio book and a few hours of podcasts on my phone.  I user the ife if there is a good movie and I have a long enough flight to complete it, othwise its audio. 

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I recently had an 11 hr flight (economy) from Las Vegas to Zurich with Edelweiss and whilst they have a great IFE system and nice food, they have the most cramped economy seats you could imagine. I literally could not sit normally without my knees painfully pressing against the seat in front. And when that person pushed their seat back it became impossible to be anything near comfortable. I am 189cm in height which is tal,l but by no means exceptionally tall. Of course they advertise that if you pay 200 dollars more each way you can have a premium economy seat which gives you a couple more inches of space. They'd have us standing if they could get away with it. And for 1400 dollar flight, it's not like its cheap. I'd rather go without IFE and have more leg room.

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I agree. These new seats are just plain painful. They are very thin with no cushion and it is like sitting on a hard wood kitchen chair. Spirit Airlines is the worst. Their seats do not even recline they are that close to the one in front and the one behind. The airline refers to them as "pre reclined"!

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On 12/11/2017 at 8:14 PM, F737NG said:

Have to agree with the last two comments. Just returned from the Canary Islands on a 4.5 hour flight on Ryanair, sitting on the side with just a view of the ocean for most of the flight. But I had music to listen to and a book, that was plenty.

If it was 7 hours or longer, then yes, I could understand gripes regarding a lack of IFE.

I did a very similar "medium haul" leg recently on Thomas Cook A321 which actually had IFE (no personal TV though, just a few screens on the ceiling) but I hardly watched it as the programming was awful; some crappy American sitcoms I'd never heard of followed by an incredibly boring documentary about some potentially hidden Leonardo Da Vinci work (which I fell asleep too). It seems they try to save costs by not buying anything decent or familiar to watch. The best thing on it was the "air show" moving map! Oh it still had those weird twin headphone sockets so I only got one channel of audio through my earphones. The books and music I bought along were far more interesting!

There was a "Sunstream" service offered for Apple and Android devices too using Wifi but you had to download the app over your data connection before departure and there was an access charge of £4 per device. The content listed seemed similarly rubbish, and you had to Pay Per View for films (on top of your £4 access charge). The are only a few app reviews on Google Play, most of which are negative so that would back up my view.

Also the return was a late night flight but they only dimmed the lights for half an hour and spent most of the flight marching up and down with the trolley trying to sell stuff, so I didn't really get any sleep.

It's a far cry from Cathay Pacific longhaul where I had an excellent AVOD (Audio and Video on Demand) system with much choice in both English and Cantonese and I watched a whole series of Yes Minister! followed by one of the latest Hollywood blockbusters.

To summarise: on a 5 hour flight I can cope without IFE providing I know in advance so I can bring a few good books along. But it's very nice to have it help pass the time. Anything longer than 5 hours I'd definitely want proper AVOD.

 

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