Tuesday, January 27, 2009

British Airways Now Allows Voice, Text and Internet Onboard

Taking its in-flight services to next level, British Airways (BA) has announced a system which will allow business class passengers to receive and send emails and text messages on some of its flights.

BA is all set to introduce mobile phone technology exclusively for its business-class flights between London City Airport and New York JFK Airport and the company plans to use Inmarsat SwiftBroadband satellite services in conjunction with GSM/GPRS networks to provide the services to customers.

The facility is expected to be introduced in the later half of this year and it will also allow business class passengers to seamlessly access the internet during their flight.

While initially no voice services will be provided, BA asserted that it may roll out the voice call features if the text messaging service shows positive response.

Quoting the significance of new services, BA’s spokesperson said in a statement, “We believe the route and the new technology will offer an appealing package to business travellers”.

However, BA is not the first to introduce such services on its flights, as Emirates initiated the trend by providing mobile services in March 2008 on a flight between Casablanca and Dubai, before expanding the service to its remaining fleet.

Ryanair and Emirates already introduced the service on some of their flights and it was only a matter of time before other airlines follow suit. Unsurprisingly, the top end bracket is the first targeted and it is very likely that other routes will be covered fairly soon. Website iKangaroo quotes the price of £250000 for each plane fitted with the necessary equipment.