British Airways Confirms WiFi Plans (Again) But they’re In No Hurry To Roll It Out

British Airways WiFi may receive commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. does not include all card companies or all available card offers.

British Airways’ parent company, IAG, used an investor day last week to confirm plans for WiFi on its aircraft. The airline has confirmed that it is looking to offer WiFi on both short-haul and long-haul routes but, despite their comments, don’t expect to see the technology available regularly any time soon.

On the face of things, the comments from IAG were positive – they discussed evaluating a WiFi retrofit on over 100 existing long-haul aircraft and looking at “extending Inmarsat’s Air-to-Ground offer to over 300 [short-haul] aircraft”  but then they went and spoiled it by outlining what they consider to be “aggressive targets”:

The first short-haul aircraft won’t have working WiFi until 2017 (no word on when in 2017 and no word on how may aircraft will be ready by then) and they expect to have 90% of long-haul aircraft fitted with WiFi by “early 2019” – 3 years away! If those targets are aggressive I’d hate to see what they call “taking their time”.

British Airways has been procrastinating (there’s no other way to describe it) about WiFi for a while now and I’m still not convinced they understand how rapidly WiFi is coming to be an expected feature on aircraft. By the time the first British Airways short-haul aircraft are fitted with WiFi their counterparts across the Atlantic will have had WiFi onboard for nearly a decade and that’s nothing short of pathetic.

Delta Onboard WiFiThe first Delta aircraft with WiFi went into service in 2008 – Image: Mike Head via Flickr

Back in 2013 British Airways announced that they were going to trial WiFi on a single 747-400 aircraft (don’t push the boat out too much guys!) and they claimed, at the time, that they would judge feedback before they decided whether to continue with a roll out across the fleet. That’s just arrogance at its best! Just about every major airline at the time already had WiFi onboard or had started retrofitting their fleet …but BA was still wondering what to do. What exactly did they think passengers were going to say?

The lack of WiFi on planes should be an embarrassment to British Airways when even low-cost carriers like Norwegian offer free WiFi on almost all of their European routes. It’s funny how British Airways was quick to implement “Hand Baggage Only” fares in an attempt to compete with prices on low-cost carriers but, for some reason, it doesn’t see the need to compete on product. A beautiful illustration of how the executives at the airline have been running things for quite sometime and an explanation, at least in part, as to why a once great airline is now sitting in mid-table mediocrity.

To see a list of all airlines with WiFi take a look at this listing from the eDreams Blog.

(HT: Business Traveller)


Comments are closed.