From 30 September 2019, Virgin says that it will no longer load Samsung Galaxy tablets for Business Class guests on its Boeing 737 aircraft. Instead, passengers can stream entertainment to their own devices via the Virgin Australia Entertainment app – as is currently the case for Economy passengers.
Virgin Australia does not offer seat-back in-flight entertainment screens on its Boeing 737 aircraft. These aircraft are used on most domestic routes (except for some Sydney-Perth and Melbourne-Perth flights), as well as all flights to New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and Bali.
As an added benefit for Business Class passengers, Virgin Australia has until now offered Samsung Galaxy tablets so passengers could watch movies and other in-flight entertainment content without needing to use their own devices. The removal of these tablets is presumably a cost-saving measure.
The following notice currently appears on the Virgin Australia website:
From 30 September 2019, all Samsung Inflight Entertainment Tablets will no longer be loaded on our 737 aircraft for our Business Class guests. We encourage our Business Class guests to download the Virgin Australia Entertainment App, available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, to their device prior to their next flight. To enjoy our Inflight Entertainment on offer, guests should ensure they update their device to its latest software with iOS 11 & Android 7 being the minimum versions.
Although the change is supposed to occur from 30 September, it seems the removal of the Samsung Galaxy tablets from Virgin flights has started early. They have already stopped appearing on some flights.
The Samsung tablets were useful for passengers that didn’t bring their own electronic device – or wanted to save the battery on their own Smartphone or tablet. But most passengers nowadays bring their own electronic devices on board anyway, and the Virgin Australia Entertainment app is free to download.
It’s sad to see these kinds of “enhancements” to what is otherwise, overall, a very good domestic Business Class product. But, for an airline scrambling to return to profitability, this move does make some sense.
Will you miss the tablets? Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Samsungs are gone