November 3, 2016 10:24 am
British Airways will be offering Wi-Fi internet access on its short-haul flights from 2017, says IAG owner.
Many rival airlines already offer internet access during flights, with some providing it free of charge.
But one travel expert warned in-flight internet was often unreliable and was unlikely to influence travelers’ airline choices.
“My first experience with Wi-Fi on a flight was about five years ago, when it was offered for free by Norwegian,” said Simon Calder, travel editor at the Independent.
“There has not been much take-up because it’s not always reliable and many people actually want to disconnect on a flight.
“But it may be that BA and IAG have cracked it and can offer something vaguely reliable.”
IAG said up to 341 of its planes would be fitted with Wi-Fi technology provided by satellite communications firm Inmarsat.
The company told the BBC it would be the responsibility of each airline brand to decide whether to charge passengers an access fee.
“I don’t believe there are many people making flight decisions based on availability of Wi-Fi,” said Mr. Calder.
“If investment is needed, it should be taking place in the airport where internet access is often terrible, expensive or complicated.
“Most people would find airport Wi-Fi more useful than being able to send emails on a plane.”