We have to admit for having known for some time that British Airways has been trialling in-flight WiFi on a single Boeing 747 aircraft.
However, as there has been no way of knowing whether this aircraft will be available on a specific flight (we understand this was intentional) the trial has not been particularly newsworthy.
Based on this update issued by BA it seems the trial is now being targeted to a single specific flight. That flight is BA183 from London Heathrow to New York JFK. However, we cannot currently verify that this is case.
Not only does the trial enable passengers to browse the internet in-flight for a fee (a great option for us as flying saps our attention spans!) but also stream live television (though rights issues will limit the channels available) and on-demand content to their personal devices. This, in particular, may point to the future direction of in-flight entertainment.
No doubt the customer feedback from the trial will influence the decision whether to roll out in flight WiFi across the fleet. However, given the ever increasing demand for “always on” mobile communications and the huge amount of business and premium traffic travelling through London, we very much a hope a positive decision is made sooner rather than later.
Update: We understand that no decision has been made to install yet WiFi yet on long-haul aircraft. We understand this partly due to questions over whether there is sufficient demand and whether existing technology is sufficiently advanced to merit a full roll out.