British Airways inflight internet a reality

Travel News 16 May 2016

British Airways will bring high-speed inflight Internet to its long-distance international flights from early 2017.

The satellite-based service, powered by GoGo, will rely on advanced '2KU' technology to deliver speeds reportedly capable of streaming video and music above the clouds.

BA's current sky-high WiFi offering is limited to flights between London City and New York, which use different technology and a different provider.

The service will debut on one of BA's refreshed Boeing 747-400 jumbo jets in early 2017, the airline says.

Over a hundred British Airways jets will be upgraded to inflight Internet: among them the Boeing 777-300ERs which fly to Singapore and Sydney, the older Boeing 777-200s and refreshed 747-400s, plus BA's Airbus A380 superjumbo and Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet.

Also on the roster are BA's new Airbus A350s, which will debut in late 2017.

The same tech will also be fitted to Aer Lingus and Iberia jets, including the Irish airline's new Airbus A330s.

While pricing plans have yet to be detailed, BA is likely to adopt a two-tiered (and potentially two-speed) pricing model which begins with web browsing, email and social media, with an additional charge for using streaming media such as Netflix or live TV channels.

British Airways began trials for inflight Internet in February 2014 on a single Boeing 747, with pricing at £10 (SGD$20) for a single session lasting up to one hour or £17.50 (SGD$34) to remain connected for up to 24 hours.

The airline has also announced plans for inflight WiFi across the UK and Europe, using both ground-based 4G base stations and Inmarsat's Europasat high-speed communications satellite.