British Airways scores with gate-to-gate in-flight entertainment

NO more the frustration of being cut-off mid-stream when watching a movie. That’s the British Airways’ latest offering in in-flight entertainment.

Following safety tests, BA has been given clearance by the Civil Aviation Authority to allow passengers extended use of its entertainment system, from the moment they take their seat on boarding to aircraft landing and arriving at the gate in some cases. There is a proviso that passengers must use the headsets provided by the airline during take-off and landing to ensure reception of safety messages.

The new procedure kicks in on Dec 1 for most flights. BA will be the first UK airline to allow gate-to-gate in-flight entertainment as part of a GBP5 million (US$8 million) programme that includes new aircraft, refurbished cabins and airport lounges.

It is always good to see airlines bouncing back to improve their products, even in a sluggish global economy. That gives the industry the much needed push to keep it going.

BA chief executive Keith Williams said: ’We think this is something passengers will appreciate. It follows passenger feedback. And it stops the frustration of being left on the edge of your seat in a cliff-hanger movie only to have the screen go blank.’

The movie-on-demand (or other available programmes) in-flight entertainment system is probably one of the best things to happen in flying experience, when passengers travelling the long haul can become bored and restless. Airline crews are probably finding them less bothersome and demanding of their attention.

Now with the availability of catching a movie as soon as you board, late boarding may also become less of a problem, hence reducing the odds of a late departure. However, there may be concerns that some passengers may tarry in disembarking, and there is less time for the crew to pick up the odds and ends.

A BA spokesperson said: “Clearly we can’t have people camping out on the plane all night to finish their movie. But there is usually a bit of time when you’re waiting to disembark when those vital few minutes and seconds might make all the difference.”

Think customer. That’s the only way to compete.

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About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

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