American Airlines to Offer Free Apple Music Streaming for Subscribers

Posted on January 30, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, Mobile, Android, iOS, Music + Videos with 16 Comments

Starting Friday, Apple Music subscribers will be able to stream music from the service for free over American Airlines in-flight Wi-Fi. Normally, users would need to pay fees to use the Wi-Fi.

“For most travelers, having music to listen to on the plane is just as important as anything they pack in their suitcases,” Apple Music vice president Oliver Schusser said in a prepared statement. “With the addition of Apple Music on American flights, we are excited that customers can now enjoy their music in even more places. Subscribers can stream all their favorite songs and artists in the air, and continue to listen to their personal library offline, giving them everything they need to truly sit back, relax and enjoy their flight.”

Apple notes that American Airlines is the first commercial airline to provide exclusive access to Apple Music through complimentary inflight Wi-Fi, suggesting that deals with other airlines may follow.

Apparently, this will work via an in-flight Wi-Fi sign-up screen, which will now offer a way for Apple Music subscribers to authenticate their accounts for complimentary music streaming. A Viasat satellite-equipped airplane is required, Apple notes.

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “American Airlines to Offer Free Apple Music Streaming for Subscribers”

  1. yoshi

    That's sort of a strange partnership, but good I guess. Maybe someday Apple can focus on making Apple Music available on the web. You know, like every other music streaming service out there.

    • david.thunderbird

      In reply to yoshi: ROTFL I needed a good guffaw this morning.


    • lvthunder

      In reply to yoshi:

      Yes because every streaming service needs to be exactly the same. Being available on the web helps almost no one. Apple Music is available on iOS, MacOS, Windows, and Android. I guess maybe it would help Linux users if Wine won't run iTunes, but that's about it.

      • Daekar

        In reply to lvthunder:

        The web apps are going to be the most important platform in short order. This especially matters for folks who want to listen on their work computer and don't have admin privileges on their machines. Web clients make those services accessible in a way that nothing else can.

        • steenmachine

          In reply to Daekar:


          A web client is convenient, but I agree with @Ivthunder that it might be for a niche group.


          I surmise most of the working force that are sitting at a desk with a computer have a modern Android or iOS phone that can access Apple Music. And many (larger) companies do distribute iTunes due to the iOS deployment for business push.


      • yoshi

        In reply to lvthunder:

        I didn't realize the Apple Music Defense Squad was going to show up on this thread. I guess you've proved me wrong.

        • BrianEricFord

          In reply to yoshi:


          Yeah. Commenting on the Internet WOULD be way better if doing so only attracted people who thought what we said was amazing rather than people who saw it as an invitation for a dialogue.

    • BrianEricFord

      In reply to yoshi:


      Not that strange: Southwest does something very similar with messaging apps, including Apple’s Messages.

  2. rob_segal

    It will be free for the first 5 minutes before the in-flight wifi stops working.

  3. Daekar

    This could be enough to get frequent-fliers to switch. I think Schusser's statement is a bit hyperbolic, but this is still a nice perk.


    Question, though... doesn't everybody who pays for these services cache music for offline play? I mean... that's half the reason to pay, right?

  4. CHanskat

    As if the inflight wifi isn't slow enough already. I'm sure the increased bandwidth demand will not help business travelers who want to get any real work done.

  5. mattbg

    This is classic Apple - identify a valuable market segment and craft a good solution for that segment alone without trying to kill all birds with one stone like Microsoft often does (and fails at). They are great at incrementally identifying the use cases and solving individual problems.


    You'd hope this would be supplemented by some kind of on-plane caching.

  6. Tony Barrett

    I wonder how much Apple had to pay AA to get that level of exclusivity! It's all about Apple keeping their customers nice and safe within their ecosystem....

  7. jcbeckman

    Because THIS is AA's biggest problem, lack of streaming music. AA, how about getting HALF the functionality in your iOS app as Delta? Or getting your flights on-time? Or fixing your terrible check-in kiosks that you basically force people to use? (The card readers are garbage on them, as evidenced by the fact AA has employed to stand by them all and show you the "proper" way to feed in a card - slowly, and with a prayer.) Forcing passengers to apply the baggage stickers is like asking to lose my bags. But hey, streaming music.

  8. Tallin

    Is this only for domestic flights? Because I have a feeling it would break net neutrality laws outside the US.