This may not be news but a couple long-haul (5-6 hours each) flights this past week showed me that inflight entertainment has peaked and waned.

From the ceiling-mounted movie screens of my childhood to drop-down versions to the little mini screens on each seat back, to … well, to absolutely no screens at all, I’ve watched the evolution (devolution?) of inflight movie-watching for 40 years.

On both my recent lengthy flights, one on a six-year-old 302 airbus (yup, same model number as that Air Asia one that dropped into the sea a few days before my flight) and the other an ancient 757 I had no video entertainment options.

Zero.

The airbus featured thin seatbacks with the seat-back pocket lifted to chest level to quite blatantly pack more cattle into the car. The older one had the old-style 4-inch thick seats with sticky tray tables. Neither flight offered screens but if I had charged my device, I would be able to use it as long as I wanted.

So long as the battery lasted (mine barely an hour).

And no, no outlets in cattle-class.

And, as long as I was willing to pay for inflight wifi … which wasn’t actually available on either flight.

So the dreadful result was that we all had to read books and talk to our neighbors.

Yup, United was uniting us.

Kinda frickin’ awesome actually.