BA in-flight entertainment scales new heights

David Phelan takes flight with the latest entertainment on-board BA

British Airways has a new in-flight entertainment system for its longhaul fleet. It’s not on every plane – 747s are exempt – but if you’re on a 777 or the forthcoming Airbus 380s and Boeing Dreamliners, you’re in luck, because this is seriously improved kit.

On a recent flight to New Delhi, in the name of research, I tried the facilities in First, Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller seats. I should add I did it with the co-operation of the crew on-board, and yes, I did have to go back to my seat at the back of the plane.

The older-but-still-current system, called AVOD, is decent enough, though if you’re a frequent flyer, chances are you’ve had to endure the system being reset at least once, or heard the announcer warn that things can get a bit hectic at the start of the flight when everyone’s going on to the system at the same time.

British Airways has partially solved this issue in a rather civilised way: on many flights you can now start watching films the second you get into your seat instead of having to wait for wheels up.

But the newer system ‘Thales’ is excellent, and- so the BA crew tell me- a lot more reliable.

British Airways has better screens to watch them on in every cabin – though all of them are resistive rather than capacitive touchscreens.

As you may know, capacitive screens are the classier, better-looking kind found on upscale mobile phones and tablets. Resistive screens are pressure-sensitive, cheaper and mostly look less impressive, but here, you wouldn’t know it.

All the displays look pin-sharp and detail-rich. And resistive screens respond to any touch, not just fingers, so you can poke it with your pen, toothbrush or High Life magazine. The screens are hugely improved in all cabins, look excellent and are a substantial upgrade.

The new Thales system is nippy enough to make pause, rewind and fast forward both efficient and effective – on some systems the hard drive can’t keep up with what’s on screen so rewinding seems to lurch from slow to lightning-fast and makes navigation frustrating. In fact, the whole system is refreshingly simple and effective and the touchscreen responsive.

And there’s more. Recognising that we now have gadgets like phones and iPods with us all the time, BA has installed electrical sockets. Beneath each screen in every class there’s a USB socket so you can charge your smartphone. Every class except First, where there are two USB chargers.

What’s more, there are multi-national power sockets all around the plane: a couple across three seats in Economy and more in other cabins. So, at last, you don’t need to get off the plane with your phone or laptop gasping for power. Though remember to activate the in-flight mode.

If you have photos on your camera that you want to show your friends, family, though (please) not complete strangers, the RCA connectors will help you achieve this end. Assuming the appropriate cable isn’t at home or in your checked luggage.

The maps feature is also enhanced with plentiful points of views and available stats and there’s a section of recommendations for movies, some of which have trailers built in.

Overall, the Thales system is slick, easy and enjoyable to operate and it puts BA’s in-flight entertainment at the forefront in terms of usability, range of content and excellence of screens to view it all on. And the extra power options and USB socket are the icing on the cake.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

    £13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior IT Support / Projects Engineer

    £26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Director - Product Management

    £75000 - £85000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the largest and fastes...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence