Posted by: Jerry Garrett | June 13, 2012

DIRECTV In-flight: Snakes on a Plane

Skyway robbery

Oh goody, another reason to hate flying: DIRECTV on United Airlines flights.

Like another reason was needed.

On a recent trip between Las Vegas and Newark, I was literally sickened to see that DIRECTV service had replaced the previous in-flight infotainment system. It was bad enough. But this system is worse. Much worse.

Let me give you some reasons:

1. The new system costs $7.99 for flights of two hours or more; $5.99 for flights of less than two hours.

2. JetBlue has been offering a similar system for FREE, for years.

3. I subscribe to DIRECTV at home, and I hate it. I’m already paying them $100 a month for dozens of unwatchable shopping and infomercial channels and blacked-out sports events. I ain’t paying for more of the same on a plane.

Mad Men’s John Slattery

4. If you don’t subscribe to this in-flight ripoff, you are bombarded with ads on the screen the entire flight. You can turn the screen off – if you dim the screen brightness to black (which is not clearly explained) – but it tends to turn itself back on. The guy next to me fell asleep (or lost consciousness) with it on; I had to watch John Slattery sell Lincolns for five hours.

5. Movies! Movies! Movies! The usual deceptive DIRECTV pitch for home subscribers (movies cost EXTRA!) is even more deceptive here. At home, you can at least purchase movies; in the sky, you can’t get movie channels. The only four movies you get with your in-flight subscription are the SAME movies that are shown on international flights for FREE! These include such Oscar-worthy gems as the “Scooby-Doo Movie” which was theatrically released (for about 10 minutes) 10 YEARS AGO! Is it at least in HD? I don’t think so! Another DIRECTV value!

6. DIRECTV says you might get lucky and catch a movie on one of the other channels that your subscription gets you. Good luck with that. They aren’t movie channels.

Check out all the channels you don’t get!

7. What about sports? Ha. Try getting that soccer game they tease you with, during the “free preview” before take-off.

8. Okay, so I decide not to subscribe. I want to watch the moving map instead. Guess what! The moving map is gone. DIRECTV has gotten rid of it. Gone also are games and other forms of entertainment, like stupid TV episodes, that used to be free. So if you don’t want to be ripped off by DIRECTV and United, you can just sit. And do nothing. Except watch John Slattery sell Lincolns. And sell Lincolns. And… (I’m kinda disposed to hate Roger Sterling for what he did to Joanie…)

9. Despite years of promises, United still does not offer wi-fi on its planes.

10. So, on top of the lack of any form of free food, increased drink and food prices, increased prices for checked luggage, and elimination of early boarding privileges for families and other special needs passengers, we now have a costly new in-flight non-entertainment system.

Thanks United!

Jerry Garrett

June 13, 2012

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