British Airways has today announced that it is to install high speed in flight WiFi across its fleet of long-haul aircraft.
The system will be a satellite based GoGo 2ku WiFi network.
The installation will begin in early 2017. BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group, has previously indicated that WiFi will be fitted to the majority of its long-haul fleet by 2019.
WiFi will be fitted on all Boeing 777, Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 aircraft. 18 of BA’s fleet of approximately 40 Boeing 747s will also be fitted with WiFi.
We surmise that these are the 18 aircraft which are mid-way through a refurbishment programme to upgrade aircraft interiors and in flight entertainment systems. A Boeing 747 aircraft will also be the first to be fitted with the new WiFi system.
BA’s finishing fleet of Boeing 767 aircraft will not be fitted with WiFi. Nor have any plans been announced to add WiFi to Its sister airline OpenSkies’ fleet of Boeing 757 aircraft.
BA has not yet indicated what pricing strategy will be adopted. However, we understand that a “freemium” model has been considered with a range of free and paid for options.
No announcements have been made regarding the fit out of WiFi on short-haul aircraft. However, an announcement is expected shortly.
BA’s parent company International Airlines Group has also announced that the same WiFi system will be added to Aer Lingus’ Boeing 757 fleet and much of Iberia’s A330 and A340 fleet. These airlines are currently offering Panasonic GCS WiFi on their Airbus A330 aircraft.
Update January 2017:
The first long-haul BA aircraft featuring the new WiFi system to enter service will be a Boeing 747 in February. The first short-haul BA aircraft featuring WiFi to enter service will be an Airbus A321 in the summer.
Update December 2017:
The roll-out of WiFi seems to be progressing more slowly than expected. It is understood that WiFI is enabled on four Boeing 747/Boeing 777-300 aircraft. BA aims to have high speed WiFi on 90% of its fleet by the end of 2019.
BA will offer two paid for WiFi packages from £4.99.
“Browse” will enable passengers to access the Internet, but not stream video.
“Stream” will enable passengers to access video streaming services such as YouTube and Netflix.
If WiFi is enabled on your flight an announcement will be made by the cabin crew and it should be discoverable on your device as “BA WiFi”.
There are more details on the BA website.
Update April 2018:
It is understood that WiFi is now available on 10 long-haul BA aircraft.
Seven Boeing 747s have WiFi. These are the refurbished Boeing 747s with 86 business class seats that operate routes such as New York JFK, Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Lagos, Kuwait, Philadelphia and San Diego. Two four class Boeing 777-200 and one Boeing 777-300 aircraft have also been fitted with WiFi.