British Airways announces Wi-Fi for short-haul flights

Wi-Fi is a key consideration for all of us when we make choices about where we are going to live, how we are going to travel and where we will go on holiday.
Not only are the lines blurred between work and home time now, but Wi-Fi can also be a godsend to parents trying to entertain their little ones on journeys.
So, it is not surprising that British Airways (BA) has decided to follow competitors and offer Wi-Fi internet access on short-haul flights from next year.
BA’s parent company IAG has also announced that its other airlines Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling will also be offering Wi-Fi.
Lots of BA’s rivals have been offering internet access during flights for some time. BA is believed to have decided that not offering Wi-Fi could make the difference when it comes to choosing a flight, particularly for business passengers who want to stay in touch with colleagues or carry out some work during their journey.
However, some travel experts say that in-flight Wi-Fi is not yet reliable enough to make a difference to the airline passengers choose.
Simon Calder, a respected industry analyst and travel editor at the Independent, said: “There has not been much take-up because it’s not always reliable and many people actually want to disconnect on a flight.”
He added: “I don’t believe there are many people making flight decisions based on availability of Wi-Fi.”
However, he said he would withhold judgement until he saw whether BA and IAG had “cracked it” and were able to offer a “vaguely reliable” experience.
A total of 341 planes operated by IAG are set to be fitted with Wi-Fi by the satellite technology firm Inmarsat.
It is not yet known whether the Wi-Fi will be paid for or free, with IAG saying that would be up to each individual airline to decide on its business model.
Mr Calder added that he believed travellers would actually prefer investment to be ploughed in to providing better Wi-Fi in airports so they could send out the messages they needed to before boarding their flight.
So far, many passengers remain frustrated with the Wi-Fi available on flights, with many complaining that it is too expensive and too slow.
Some airlines are charging as much as £30 for six hours of Wi-Fi, meaning that it is not cost effective for passengers to use.