American Airlines continues to deliver niche options for complimentary in-flight connectivity. The carrier will offer passengers 30 minutes of access to TikTok on board without requiring a wifi package purchase.
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.– Clarissa Sebastian, American’s Managing Director of Premium Customer Experience and Onboard Products
Rather than buying a connectivity package on board passengers can choose a TikTok plan in the portal. Once activated they get 30 minutes to explore in the app. American also offers helpful guidance to travelers on what TikTok is:
What is TikTok? Available as a mobile app and on a desktop, TikTok is on a mission to inspire creativity and bring joy through short-form videos. While a hit with GenZ thanks to its dance challenges and lip-sync videos, the platform has something for everyone — from tech-savvy teens to those who were born at a time when you only had landline phones at home.
Selective freebies on board
The offering is the latest move by Viasat to demonstrate its ability to deliver access to individual services on board rather than just free or paid packages. American already offers Facebook Messenger on board for passengers, as well as access to Apple Music, without additional fees. Viasat can also deliver solutions like NBA League Pass streaming, though that’s only available outside the USA thanks to content licensing challenges.
The option is available on aircraft carrying the Viasat in-flight satellite service, which is the majority of American’s narrow-body fleet. The promotional offering begins 2 August 2021; neither company specified an end date, though calling it a promotional offer implies one may come around.
A learning opportunity
American indicates that the offer is an opportunity to learn more from customer feedback to inform future decisions about the in-flight connectivity offering on board. While a laudable goal, the mechanics around this sort of offer delivering actionable insights is less clear.
If lots of passengers connect is that a validation of interest in TikTok or more that they’ll flow towards whatever is free? The latter is not necessarily bad intelligence to collect. It could help inform partnership campaigns with other companies as American seeks funding to make more services complimentary on board. But that does not necessarily mean customers want the particular service versus wanting free access.
There’s also the potential that the half hour is enough to convince passengers to engage more broadly with the system, eventually upgrading to a paid package. Connectivity providers have reported limited success with these plans in the past, but it is the sort of ideal outcome where hope springs eternal.
A favor to ask while you're here...
Did you enjoy the content? Or learn something useful? Or generally just think this is the type of story you'd like to see more of? Consider supporting the site through a donation (any amount helps). It helps keep me independent and avoiding the credit card schlock.