Starting this summer, United Airlines will include 21 Zune music channels as an in-flight listening option. Passengers will be able to listen for free by plugging compatible headphones into their armrest and dialing in the channel of their choice.
The tunes for United flights will be pulled directly from Microsoft's existing roster of Zune Pass subscription music channels, including options for classic rock, contemporary pop, opera, electronica, piano jazz, and others. Channels will be offered commercial-free on both domestic and international flights, with each channel loaded with 3 hours of unique programming.
The partnership counts as a small, yet significant win for Microsoft, exposing its unique, DJ-curated Zune channels to a captive audience of millions. The deal also includes three pages of Zune print advertising in each issue of United's in-flight magazine, "Hemisphere," which will also serve as a listing for channel lineups.
For all you music fans out there who get depressed when the airplane captain tells you to turn off your phones and MP3 players, having an always-on stream of free Zune channels built into your seat should brighten your mood.