United Airlines has become the first US air carrier to offer iPod and iPhone connectivity within its in-flight entertainment systems, the airline announced today.

The company’s solution allows passengers to watch and listen to their media on the 15.4-inch screen available at their seat. Technology for the connectivity was developed by Panasonic Avionics Corporation. The first so-equipped flight leaves Washington today at 5:40pm in transit to Zurich. Deployment of the solutions begins on these trans-Atlantic routes, with United’s entire fleet of international aircraft to be upgraded with the Apple media-friendly solutions in the next two years (first and business class..)

"The iPod and iPhone have become essential for millions of travelers around the world," said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPod and iPhone Product Marketing. "We think United customers are going to love being able to listen or watch personal music and video content on their iPod or iPhone via the in-flight entertainment system, and we can’t wait for United to roll this out to their fleet."

Singapore Airlines took the distinction of becoming the first airline to offer passengers the ability to connect their iPods to an in-flight entertainment system earlier this year, offering iPod/iPhone-compatible in-flight entertainment systems on select business class flights on its Airbus A340-500 aircraft.

iPod and iPhone integration began with Singapore Airlines’ A345 non-stop flights from Newark-Singapore on 15 May, and begins on the LA-Singapore route this August.

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