British Airways is trialling iPads on a B777 aircraft with a view to rolling out an offering of iPads in First.
At present BA has 18 GMIS B777-200ER aircraft currently without Audio and Video On Demand - AVOD - Inflight Entertainment. These will be replaced in a retrofit which will take place over approximately 12 months from September of this year. For details of this, see British Airways new Inflight Entertainment System (September 7, 2010).
It is on these aircraft awaiting the refit that BA is planning to offer iPads with pre-installed entertainment. Speaking with Business Traveller, Gemma Conlon, BA’s Customer Experience Development Manager said that the trial started on May 18th and is scheduled to run for four weeks, but that customer feedback had been very positive.
“Passengers are pleased to get another option. It gives our customers a different offering while waiting for the Thales retrofit [of the IFE system] and has gone down really well.”
The iPad has been loaded with entertainment not available on the existing IFE system and remains charged by using the charger in the seat, but Conlon says one restriction of the device is the lack of memory which restricts the amount of content that can be stored on it.
“In the past, we have offered DVD players to supplement the entertainment on board in First on the GMIS aircraft, but that is very old technology, hence this trial”.
The iPads are locked down versions, meaning passengers can’t alter software or add their own content to it (or remove content). Nevertheless, the positive feedback has meant that Conlon says it is planned for the iPads to roll out across the other 17 B777 aircraft awaiting refit.
For more on airlines offering iPads, click here
For more on BA's new First, click here