BA relaxes IFE restrictions

British Airways has obtained permission from the Civil Aviation Authority for its long-haul passengers to be allowed to watch their IFE screens “from the second they reach their seat to the moment they arrive at their destination”.

In line with other UK carriers, BA currently requires passengers to wait until after take-off and announcements have been carried out before the IFE system can be used, and turns off the system 15-20 minutes before landing.

But from December 1 the carrier will become the first UK airline to relax these restrictions on all long-haul flights, following nine months of negotiations with the CAA.

It’s worth noting though that certain restrictions will remain in place for Club World and First passengers, and those sitting in exit row and bulk head seats, as a spokesperson for BA confirms:

“Everyone can watch the IFE during the boarding process, but due to safety regulations, First and Club World customers will still have to stow their video screens (and iPads), from completion of the safety briefing until after take off and for approach and landing.

“However, they can listen to audio channels throughout their entire journey.

“The same applies for World Traveller and World Traveller Plus passengers sat in emergency exit and bulkhead rows.”

For more information visit ba.com.

Report by Mark Caswell

What do you think of BA’s decision to relax IFE restrictions on long-haul flights? Take part in the discussion here.


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  • It makes one question so-called premium classes when they receive an inferior product to economy.

    BA is hoist by it’s own petard of using a seat design that features fold away screens, rather than building them into the shell of the row in front or on the bulkhead.

  • I do agree that this does present an odd situation whereby WT have a better experience that CW and F! At least with the ANZ Business Premier Suite you can still view the screen when it’s stowed if you rotate in the seat a bit, not ideal but at least you can still watch the end of your film if you wanted to.

  • Seat design versus a little extra IFE …it’s called “Trade Off.” Personally I think I could survive without the IFE for 20 – 30 minutes.

  • I’m with Kevin on this one. In premium cabins, I enjoy settling in before take-off, having a quick glass of something, stowing my stuff, having a glance at the newspapers, watching my fellow travellers. I don’t need to plug myself in immediately and remain so during take-off.

    Were I to be in WT Plus or WT, I’d be more constrained and not have the same pre-departure service, so would probably be more inclined to opt for plugging in and drowning out those around me.

  • A good step forward. In annoys me that :

    1. IFE is stowed and then the plane goes into a hold pattern.
    2. BA in flight announcements butcher the first 20 mins and the last 20 mins of IFE. No talking! (Other than the safety drill)

  • I think this is great, particularly in lower cabins where there’s less to occupy people’s time, no newspapers or drinks on departure, fewer window seats, and interest in video entertainment is probably greater (particularly for children).

    Plenty to keep you occupied in F and J, and like others I value the time to read, choose from the menu or simply look out of the window at the beginning and end of the flight.

    I still have concerns that the CAA is compromising itself by allowing IFE and headphones in particular during the landing and take off phase; I wouldn’t want to be sitting next to someone connected to the seat in front by a headphone wire, oblivious to the initial warning signs of a pending emergency, and losing vital seconds on exit as a result.

    Having said that, the chances of it happening are so small that these days maybe the commercial imperative of keeping people entertained outweighs the risk…?

  • Presumably when BA’s A380s finally arrive, one will be allowed to watch the pictures from the nose and tail cameras the whole time.

    While we are thinking about IFE, why can BA not have a set-up where the Moving Map can be shown while one is listening to audio.

    The other aspect that annoys me is the way window shades are kept closed so much of the time. I believe Australian law mandates shades be open during landing and takeoff.

  • Let’s hope that BA will be considering providing some alternative entertainment for us ClubWorld passengers to compensate.

    There is a huge potential for Economy or PremiumEconomy passenger to not be as jealous as they walk though our section on boarding and this will affect my smugness levels too. This must be addressed.

    I would have thought an intimate live concert in the T5 lounge by Michael Buble or Beyonce pre-boarding would make up for the take-off missed IFE opportunity, with perhaps a live acoustic set by either Sting or Lady Gaga for the last 20 minutes of the flight would be the least they could do.

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