In case you haven't heard: the airline business is in serious trouble. Of course, airline bankruptcies have been part of the American landscape for years and years, but currently everyone but Southwest Airlines is really hurting -- shrinking schedules and grounding planes, charging for food and even soda, imposing a fee on all checked baggage, etc. I'm a bit concerned about, among other things, my fall film festival travel plans. But the airlines' latest cutback measure is even more relevant to Cinematical: U.S. Airways is getting rid of all in-flight movies on domestic flights, which will save on hefty licensing fees paid to studios.

The optimistic attitude from studio executives quoted in the Hollywood Reporter piece is that this won't be a trend because U.S. Airways is in particularly serious trouble, and because airlines will "continue to offer entertainment to their passengers, even in the extremely difficult environment of rising fuel costs." Well, maybe. I think that once airlines start charging for sodas and checking bags, all bets are off. One possibility is that they could make passengers pay for movies -- either by charging for those little headsets they distribute (which some airlines have been doing for a while) or, in planes that have personal screens, charging people for using them. Of course, in-flight movies aren't like liquids or checked bags -- people could easily do without movies once prices start to rise. Another possibility, I guess, is only showing the movies in first or business class, but I'm not sure that would save them any money.
categories Movies, Cinematical