Passengers aboard American Airlines flights will soon have an in-flight entertainment option that’s not “La La Land, but you fall asleep 20 minutes in and don’t rewind it so now you’ll never really know the plot of that movie”: TikTok, which just became available for free in 30-minute increments.
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Beginning on August 2, any American Airlines customers traveling aboard Viasat-equipped narrowbody aircraft will be able to log in to their TikTok accounts for free by enabling airplane mode, connecting to the “AA-Inflight” signal, and clicking on the TikTok ad that pops up on aainflight.com. Even if you’re not already a TikTok user, you’ll still be able to access and download the app in-flight free of charge (TikTok doesn’t require users to have an account to watch videos).
Free inflight offerings
In a press release, American Airlines said that this and other trials, like its recent foray into offering free in-flight messaging through Facebook Messenger, “help American evaluate offerings to ensure the best experience for customers throughout their journey.”
“Faster Wi-Fi allows us to deliver diverse inflight entertainment options and invest in innovative partnerships with platforms like TikTok,” Clarissa Sebastian, American’s Managing Director of Premium Customer Experience and Onboard Products, said in a statement. “Customers play the lead role in helping us better understand what content they want during their inflight experience and TikTok is one of the platforms they love on the ground, and we’re thrilled to work with Viasat to give customers free access to TikTok while they’re in the air as well.”
Near Field Communication (NFC) chip embedded in the passport
American Airlines said it has added free access to the TikTok app aboard its Viasat aircraft for free.
Passengers will be able to access the app for 30 minutes. All they need to do is enable airplane mode and connect to the AA-inflight signal.
Once connected they’re redirected to a WiFi portal and can access TikTok for free. Users who don’t have the app yet can download it onboard.
In 2020, the airline tested access to a free inflight Facebook Messenger.
It’s unlikely to help boost ticket sales, but the addition may still be a nice way to make flying pass more quickly.
Passengers travelling with American Airlines can now check-in using the airline’s app to scan the chip on the back page of their passports and verify their details.
American Airlines claims it has become the first airline to offer passport chip scanning that securely transmits passport information directly from the Near Field Communication (NFC) chip embedded in the passport. This allows customers to head directly to the gate for international flights without having their passports rechecked by a customer service agent.
“We are continuously adding features to our app to make travel easier and worry-free for our customers,” said Maya Leibman, Chief Information Officer, American Airlines. “Mobile passport scanning removes a time-consuming step, providing our customers with a smoother check-in experience for international flights.”
Smoother experience for international flights
Currently, customers departing on international flights who check in using the app have their passports rechecked at the airport. This step is required even if the customer has uploaded a photo of their passport via the mobile app. With this new enhancement, the customer will be prompted to enter their passport information and then scan their passport with an iOS or Android device. The app provides easy-to-follow instructions for the process.
The passport will still need to be shown at the airport during boarding, but it won’t have to be opened and scanned, saving passengers and employees time, the airline says.
Mobile passport scanning is the latest in a line of new customer features American has implemented to the airline’s app to make travel easier for customers. Other recent introductions include boarding notifications, Siri shortcuts and a dark mode option. American has also rolled out additional services to improve the travel experience, including biometric international boarding, virtual 3D aircraft tours online, a redesigned self-service kiosk menu that simplifies the check-in process and an improved family seating approach, which ensures adults and children under 14, when travelling together on the same reservation, are seated together.
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