British Airways to refresh 18 B747s

British Airways has announced it will refresh 18 of its Boeing 747 aircraft in the next year.

As part of the upgrade, BA will install a Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system that will provide passengers with more than 130 films and 400 television shows.

The new IFE system will feature larger, high-resolution screens that are “capable of touch and swipe gestures, giving the system the familiar feel of using a tablet”.

Elsewhere, every World Traveller Plus (premium economy) seat will have access to a universal power socket — capable of accepting plugs from the UK, US and Europe —and a personal USB socket.

New seat foams will be installed in World Traveller (economy) and World Traveller Plus, while new seat covers will also be fitted to match those on BA’s A380 and B787 aircraft.

The refit will also include a general cabin refresh, including replacing carpets and curtains throughout the plane, to bring the older B747s up-to-date with BA’s most recent aircraft.

Richard D’Cruze, British Airways’ in-flight entertainment and technology manager, said: “We know that in-flight entertainment is really important to our customers — being able to relax and watch a film or listen to music helps customers to pass the time enjoyably — so by installing this state-of-the-art equipment we will be able to deliver even more programming on board.”

All 18 B747s will be refitted by August 2016; work starts next August.

Last month, BA launched a new service allowing customers to hold flight reservations for up to three days before paying (see news, August 21).

Graham Smith

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  • Wow, so WTP gets a universal power socket… but CW doesn’t? That wasn’t very helpful on my recent trip to DXB. The same plane which had a last minute sub due to tech issue, with no ground aircon due to APU failure, non-working AVOD screens everywhere, and constant IFE system re-boots. I guess that’s what happens on 25 year old planes…

  • New IFE is welcome, but new WT+ seats would make a difference. I actively avoid WT+ on BA 747s given the contrast with 777-300ER, A380 and 787 products. New cushions and covers wont do the trick.

  • Announcing an upgrade that will commence only 1 year later doesn’t make much sense to me. BA is backward, this has nothing to do with older aircraft; the 380 in CW is a joke, 7 across feels like a cowshed. Look at EK or SQ, this IS business class in 2014!

  • Until the day they designed & implemented shock absorbing touchscreen PTVs I will continue to think that touchscreen PTVs are the worst thing invented/introduced in economy/coach in recent years. There’s nothing worst than trying to sleep whilst having a person (both kids & adult) continuously jabbing at the screen directly behind your head. Adding swiping will only make that worse…. Use the remote please.

  • All is good news… but I think BA should consider to buy the new 747-8i with the perfect capacity, low fuel consumption, new interiors, new technology and it’s an amazing plane… see what LH does now and Korean Air would do soon… 747-400’s are great but maybe too much investment for something that they would replace eventually at some point not too far “down the road”

  • Couldn’t agree more with Shamsh1 and Akira22098! Flew CW on the A380 earlier this year to LAX and the layout is dire. This seven across back to front seating, a few inches through the plastic screen from the person facing you, and the athleticism required to extract oneself from the window seat over the legs of the reclined aisle seat passenger makes it the worst business class in the sky. EK, SQ and even Qantas are infinitely superior in business – shame they don’t fly across the Atlantic from the UK!

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