Airlines' 'flutter while you fly' plan

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The Independent Online
THE high rollers from Las Vegas and Monte Carlo can stay away. In the gambling casinos above the clouds, nobody will ever say to the punters 'the sky's the limit'.

British Airways and Virgin are racing to become the first British airline to install roulette and blackjack in their aircraft as part of a plan to ease the numbing boredom of long-haul flights.

Each seat, even in economy class, will have its own video screen, control panel, telephone and charge card swipe. Gone will be the days when the highlight of the flight was yet another showing of Police Academy 6.

Travellers will now be able to have a flutter. The in- flight entertainment system will include computerised poker, roulette and blackjack games as well as horse racing. All the passenger has to do is place a bet and run a credit card through the swipe slot on the seat.

If they win their card is credited, if they lose it is debited and the prospect of the latter is making the two airlines very cautious.

'There is going to be a limit, although we have not set it yet. We certainly don't want people to walk off our planes penniless,' Kate Gay, spokeswoman for British Airways, said. The likely limit will be pounds 10 to pounds 15.