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Wi-Fi in the air becomes a reality
For some passengers, the aircraft cabin is escape from our ‘always on’ world. But for those who can’t bear to be away from email – or simply want to book a restaurant, upload holiday snaps or stream a movie – British Airways’ onboard Wi-Fi is on the way.
Our version is called High Life Connect. The airline has started flying its first Wi-Fi enabled aircraft, a maximum Club capacity Boeing 747, and aims to have 90 per cent of the airline’s fleet Wi-Fi enabled by 2019.
Testing is progressing well. Customers travelling in First and Club cabins on a recent flight from Heathrow to Chicago had the opportunity to trial the Wi-Fi for free, while BA colleagues and representatives from Gogo, the airline’s long-haul connectivity provider, monitored the system’s performance.
On Wi-Fi enabled flights, customers will have a choice of two options: Simply Connect or Connect Plus, with options of connecting for one hour, four hours or the full flight. Simply Connect supports basic web browsing, email and instant messaging, with prices from £4.99, while Connect Plus provides a faster connection speed supporting video streaming services from £7.99.
British Airways’ long-haul aircraft Wi-Fi is provided by Gogo, with A350s and 787-10s powered by Panasonic, while short-haul aircraft will be supplied by Inmarsat.