Although I’ve never been a fan of DirecTV, even if it’s the one feasible entertainment option on board a flight when there’s no inflight WiFi, the fact that all three screens in row 8 of Sunday night’s red eye flight between Portland and Houston made me hate the contraption even more. First, when we sat down, the screen displayed an error message “DCHP Connection Lost” on a bright white screen. Then, once the cabin lights were turned off so we could get a little sleep, the screen was still completely illuminated. To make matters worse, the screen would turn off intermittently, reboot, and then display the intensely bright error message for several minutes. It was worse than a flashing neon sign, because those signs are a lot further than three feet away.
The inflight crew tried their best to turn off the system, but they said that there was nothing they could do to fix our screen. A polite letter to Continental Airlines is in progress.