BA to allow passengers to watch IFE until end of flight

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This topic contains 58 replies, has 25 voices, and was last updated by  HongKongLady 30 Nov 2012
at 16:35

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  • Anonymous

    Business Traveller attended a BA media event this evening, where CEO Keith Williams announced that going forward passengers will be allowed to watch their IFE systems from the moment they sit down, until the aircraft touches down at the end of the flight.

    It wasn’t clear if this will apply to all aircraft and routes offering IFE – a press release will be issued this week and we’ll have more details then.

    We’re reminded of Air New Zealand removing IFE take off and landing restrictions back in 2008 (see link below).

    What is your experience of this on other carriers? Which airlines allow the IFE to be watched during take off / descent?


    Another question is WHY ON EARTH do carriers differ in their policies?


    Emirates allows you to watch the IFE from the moment you get onboard until the moment you disembark. It also allows First and Business passengers to hold onto their drinks (in glasses) during take off…it takes some getting used to, having flown BA where they want NOTHING in the seat area around you. Emirates you have a small fully stocked minibar at every seat.


    It was/is a CAA restriction, hence why no British airline has offered this before.


    Virgin America allow you to watch through landing until disembarking which is taken to another level as their IFE, as with a number of US domestic carriers, includes live satellite TV.

    Surely there’s a market there for Sky to team up with an LCC in Europe with PPV (swipe a credit card) IFE / live satellite TV plus pay WiFi in Europe?


    Does that mean they will allow me to keep my earphones in for take off and landing, or will we have to watch the IFE mute?

    And what about non-electrically charged e-readers?


    Qantas allows it on the A380’s also.

    As for BA it will be on all longhaul aircraft with the exception of the 15-odd 77-200’s left with the old GMIS entertainment system (although these are being reconfigured with the new 777-300 cabins and Thales entertainment system anyway so all longhaul aircraft will have gate-to-gate IFE in time).

    Gate to gate IFE will launch at BA on 1st December.

    Obviously it will benefit those sat in World Traveller or World Traveller Plus most (seats with IFE screens in the seatback in front) as all seats in Club World, FIRST and the bulkhead/exit rows of World Traveller & World Traveller Plus will still need to have their screens stowed once the safety demonstration is completed. Definitely handy for parents wanting their kids to settle down a bit for the initial stages of the flight!

    Whilst not revolutionary it is definitely a move in the right direction! It wasn’t so long ago that the IFE was switched off FORTY minutes before landing, which was crazy. This recently moved to twenty minutes before landing. And now it will be gate to gate.

    city professional you can wear the earphones throughout the flight. BA issued earphones connected to the IFE system will not need to be removed for either take off or landing. Earphones connected to personal systems will still need to be removed – obviously any emergency announcements will still be able to be heard when customers are wearing earphones plugged into the BA IFE system. In terms of e-readers…well officially these have to still be switched off. Reason being there is just such a plethora of electronic devices around these days, some with wifi, some with 3G, others with neither that its impossible for the cabin crew to know what is transmitting and what is not. So easiest solution is just to ask for them to be switched off during take off and landing.

    Perhaps BA/CAA can next look at the rule surrounding mobile phones – most non UK airlines allow passengers to switch them on once the aircraft has turned off the runway after landing. The CAA/BA still insists they remain switched off until the aircraft reaches the gate and the engines shut down. It is a rule that is pretty much ignored now anyway. You hear at least 15 or 20-odd ‘bing bings’ and ‘beep beeps’ when you land.


    @ rferguson – 26/11/2012 23:32 GMT

    As you habitually have your finger on the pulse, can you provide an answer to the hoary old chestnut of why mobile phones need switching off during a flight. Is it genuinely because they can interfere with a/c onboard systems such as comms, nav etc or is it, as I have seen suggested elsewhere, rather more because the telcos object? The latter because their billing systems cannot keep up with people’s phones switching from relay to relay at over 500knots and it messes up their billing systems… Or could it be that both apply? Any information? Thanks.


    Definitely the former AnthonlyDunn.

    The problem is that within the UK, technology in regards to mobile phones and aircraft/air traffic control systems has improved dramatically – but the policies have remained the same since the introduction of the mobile phone.

    There was concern that mobile phone signals could interfere with aircraft systems and radio communications between aircraft and air traffic control. And this was certainly the case when mobile phones were operating on an old analogue system (remember when you used to hear other peoples calls cut into your own every so often?). But mobile phone companies now use digital systems that pretty much negate this happening so most countries aviation authorities (Australia, the US for example) have relaxed the rules on use of mobile phones. Most still require you switch them off before pushback, but providing you dont have to unfasten your seatbelt to reach your phone after landing you are generally able to use them.



    Mobiles phones don’t get a signal at cruise height.

    I’ve seen a mobile phone, inadvertently left on, skew an RMI (nav instrument) by over 30 degrees during flight.

    The challenge is the unpredictability, sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t, so it’s better they are off unless the aircraft is ‘hardened’ against them.

    Most modern aircraft will be okay, e.g. Ryanair ran a mobile phone service for a while, BA CWLCY allows mobile phone data use and EK offers mobile phone roaming on most flights.

    Ultimately, BA has to comply with the dictats of the UK CAA, which is not known as the ‘Campaign Against Aviation’ for no reason 😉


    simdesman – 26/11/2012 22:46 GMT

    It was/is a CAA restriction, hence why no British airline has offered this before.

    ….it is a CAA restriction but relatively new……in the 80’s / early 90’s you could retain your glass of champagne whilst on take off run with BA at least.

    I always thought it rather decadent but in fairness to CAA, and having once stopped at speed on the runway, I would rather there were not glasses in the cabin. There are many items which move around the cabin during takeoff and it is remarkable how much shifts when the brakes are applied at speed!

    Watching IFE to end of a flight seems sensible though.


    “I always thought it rather decadent but in fairness to CAA, and having once stopped at speed on the runway, I would rather there were not glasses in the cabin”



    from recent experiance QR usually allow you to watch from sit down to connection to the jetbridge. sometimes depends on the crew when the switch on. China southern have it on. My recent Finnair flight did. All in business class.


    in answer to the headphones question…only the BA headphones they provide can be used during take off and landing for the IFE but all IFE moniters in FIRST, CLUB WORLD and the arm rest stowed moniters at the bulkheads and exit rows in WT+ and WT have tobe stowed for landing/take off so your exit is clear.Headphones will no longer be collected in by the crew. and at the momenst Kindles and e-readers still need to be off.

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