United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby's Nose Is Growing On Seat Back Televisions

United Airlines did not just announce a major order for aircraft today. They also presented a plan to provide a premium experience on the flight. The symbol of this plan is to provide seat back entertainment screens for all passengers on new planes as well as retrofitting existing aircraft.These are not just important for passengers, CEO Scott Kirby says. He doesn't just say he has a change of heart. This includes not only United's future opportunities but also his past airlines that have not made similar investments. He says he has been frustrated by other airlines and is a strong advocate for seatback entertainment.Kirby, Live and Lets Fly, at a briefing about the announcement, I installed seatback screens at my last airline and they were removed after I left.He claimed that he wanted seatback entertainment at American Airlines and that they dropped the plan when he wasn't there. Live and Lets Fly explains what Kirby meant. At American Airlines Kirby added seatback screens on many of their jets, only to have them removed when he flew to United Airlines.Every word Kirby uses here is accurate technically, but it's utterly misleading. Kirby was in American when the screens were being installed on new planes. Kirby left before the plan was implemented to take them out. That's the impression he wants to convey.Scott Kirby is a backgrounder. He has never been able to pinpoint a passenger experience aspect that he could not cut. Take, for instance.He was President of US Airways and removed all seat power from any aircraft before their acquisition by America West.Seat power of aircraft that had it before they were acquired by America West. He was the President of US Airways and introduced a plan for charging water.He also eliminated elite bonus miles. He implemented cuts after cuts to United Airlines' Polaris business product. This included reducing the number of flight attendants in international business class, moving to pre-plated meals and removing bloody mary, mimosa carts, and flights of wine. They no longer offered midflight snacks and removed the soup course from the airline's first class.Kirby explained that US Airways had inflight internet only a decade ago, and that they didn't have it because of the loss of ticket sales. He dismissed the idea, saying that it wouldn't make them any money.Maybe Kirby believed that the other elements of service were irrelevant, but seatback video was. It was not something he added to US Airways. However, he may have felt that they weren't in a financial situation to make the investment after receiving $10 billion in federal subsidy during the United Pandemic.Let's look at the facts.American did not approve of a plan to install seat back screens. This is simply false. The delivery of American Airbus A321s with televisions at each seat began a month prior to the US Airways merger. Kirby was not present when these planes were first delivered to the airline. The day after the merger was closed, the first Boeing 737-880 with screens at each seat was delivered. They were actually inked earlier.These planes didn't have seat back screens when legacy US Airways Airbus A319s were being reconstructed to match American Airlines' configuration. American A319s that were delivered before Kirby was in control had them.American Airlines' new domestic interior was designed while the President of American was still in office. However, the first plane with this interior didn't arrive until after he had left.American Airlines, Pre Scott Kirby: Seat Back EntertainmentScott Kirby was the one responsible for American Airlines adopting a revenue based mileage program. This program was approved by the AAdvantage team and modeled on Delta and United Airlines. He was so intoxicated as President of American that he named the 75K elite tier Platinum Pro, despite the fact it wasn't the preferred name by the AAdvantage group.Scott Kirby, United Airlines CEO, is a great man. He wants to make United Airlines the preferred choice for customers. This commitment is evident in the seat back video screens. He is not a long-suffering champion of the idea, but he also owns American Airlines' inability to have these screens today. He is now preparing to beat them due to the past decisions he made at American Airlines, which, frankly speaking, seems appropriate.