when institutions embrace the change

Ok, this isn’t a huge, culture-shifting event, but the news out of ilounge today is that United Airlines is introducing iPod and iPhone connectivity on its flights.

If you’re flying with your iPod, you’ll be able to use a 30-pin connector to hook up to a 15.4 monitor provided by United.

There’s no mention in this article about cost, but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a charge of some sort for this service.

I worked in the newspaper industry for a few years (a few too many, anyway) and the thing that confounded me again and again was its complete and total unwillingness to embrace cultural changes and use them to their advantage. (The irony, of course, being that one of their main purposes is to chronicle cultural changes.)

How long did the newspaper industry fight the Internet? When they finally embraced putting their own content online, they had been surpassed by thousands of smaller, more nimble content providers. This continues to eat at their print and web traffic to this day.

There’s a lot airlines can do to become the airline of choice – Midwest Express with complete first class seating in every plane, for example. I recently flew AirTrans to Las Vegas and they had XM Radio with free headphones. Now this.

On one hand, I’m surprised the airlines are making these moves, but on the other, I’m surprised at how quickly they are moving. Let’s hope the momentum toward flying conveniences continues on.


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