British Airways announced that 18 of its Boeing 747s are to receive a cabin refresh including a state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system.
Passengers travelling on the 18 selected 747s will be treated to double the choice of TV programmes and films thanks to the installation of Panasonic’s next generation eX3 entertainment system.
The new system, which will be installed from August 2015, will provide more than 130 movies and 400 TV programmes on larger, hi-resolution screens, capable of touch and swipe gestures, giving the system the familiar feel of using a tablet.
Lightweight in design, the system from Panasonic Avionics Corporation also helps to save the amount of fuel used by the aircraft.
As part of the upgrade, customers in World Traveller Plus on these aircraft will have access to a universal power socket at every seat, capable of accepting plugs from the UK, US and Europe. In addition, World Traveller customers will now have their own personal USB socket to power phones and tablets.
Richard D’Cruze, British Airways’ in-flight entertainment and technology manager, said: “We know that in-flight entertainment is really important to our customers – being able to relax and watch a film or listen to music helps customers to pass the time enjoyably – so by installing this state-of-the-art equipment we will be able to deliver even more programming on board.”
The refit, which will be carried out by British Airways’ engineers in Cardiff, will include a cabin interior refresh bringing these 747s more in line with the airline’s newest aircraft.
New seat foams will be installed in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus to increase customer comfort and new style seat covers fitted to improve appearance and match those on the A380 and 787. Carpets and curtains throughout the plane will also be replaced to the new aircraft colour pallet.
Kathryn Doyle, aircraft cabin interiors manager, said: “Our customers love our new aircraft, and we wanted to refresh the 747s in line with them as we know they have a special place in the heart of many of our customers. These aircraft will get some well deserved TLC and the improvements will be really noticeable to our frequent fliers.”
British Airways has introduced a number of recent changes to its in-flight entertainment, including the introduction of HBO and the Discovery Channel as well as a new ‘paws and relax channel’ showing cute footage of cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, to enhance the wellbeing of customers.
British Airways was also the first European airline to permit the use of hand-held mobile devices after landing and the first European airline to introduce the use of in-flight entertainment systems from gate-to-gate.