British Airways to begin 747 fleet IFE and cabin upgrade next August

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British Airways is to upgrade some of its 747 fleet to provide more comfort and a new state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system for its passengers, but you’ll have to wait a while.

Passengers travelling on the 18 (selected from the fleet of 57)  747 aircraft  will be treated to double the choice of TV programmes and films with the installation of Panasonic’s next generation eX3 entertainment system.

The airline will begin fitting the new system August next year. It 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, the World Traveller Plus cabins will have universal power sockets at every seat, capable of accepting plugs from the UK, US and Europe. In addition, World Traveller passengers 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 to bring the 747 jets closer to the newest aircraft in the fleet.

For World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins, the seats will be fitted with new foam to increase passenger comfort along with new style seat covers to match those on the A380 and 787 aircraft. Carpets and curtains throughout the plane will also be replaced to match the new airline fleet colours.

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 the aircraft has 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 (why?), to (supposedly)  enhance the wellbeing of customers. Have you watched this channel yet?

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