This will be very welcome news to the majority of British Airways travellers, who travel with the airline’s real backbone of the fleet, on their 747s. The Queen of the Skies has been around for years, and is still one of the most popular aircraft for long haul travellers, but with the advent of the newer aircraft, all eyes have been turned to the 777s, 787s and A380s. British Airways, the largest operator of the 747-400, has now revisited its jumbo fleet, and has decided to radically improve their economy cabins.
18 of their 48 747’s will be given a loving touch, completely refurbishing their economy cabins (World Traveller and World Traveller Plus), as well as curtains and carpets in their premium cabins. The reason is to bring their international economy product in line with their new 777-300er/787/A380 economy products (below), which has been a huge success. It’s not just a superficial change though, the economy travellers most important element, the IFE, will be completely reworked. The new Panasonic next generation eX3 entertainment system, which will be installed from August 2015, will provide more than 130 movies and 400 TV programmes on larger, hi-resolution screens, capable of touch and swipe gestures, giving the system the familiar feel of using a tablet. That’s double the entertainment you can currently get – and more importantly, will be enjoyed by the whole plane, including those in Club World and First.
For those in the World Traveller Plus cabin, you will have access to a universal power socket at every seat, capable of accepting plugs from the UK, US and Europe. In addition, World Traveller customers will now have their own personal USB socket to power phones and tablets. 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.”
New seat foams will be installed in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus to increase customer comfort and new style seat covers fitted to improve appearance and match those on the A380 and 787. Carpets and curtains throughout the plane will also be replaced to the new aircraft colour pallet.
Kathryn Doyle, aircraft cabin interiors manager, said: “Our customers love our new aircraft, and we wanted to refresh the 747s in line with them as we know the aircraft has a special place in the heart of many of our customers. These aircraft will get some well deserved TLC and the improvements will be really noticeable to our frequent fliers.” We have to admit, this is a very welcome improvement for us here at thedesignair.net, and can’t wait to see it rolled out, which will be complete by the end of summer 2016.