On-board WiFi: soft launch is underway

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Old Apr 17, 19, 2:50 am   -   Wikipost
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Onboard WiFi is being progessively introduced to both BA's long and shorthaul fleets and is being marketed as Highlife Connect. This thread is to track the rollout.

See https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb.../wifi-on-board for BA's FAQ on the system.

Longhaul aircraft with WiFi fitted
A380 - 5 Aircraft

G-XLEA, G-XLEB, G-XLEG, G-XLEH, G-XLEI

747 (Super Hi-J) - 17 Aircraft

G-CIVF, G-CIVH, G-CIVI, G-CIVR, G-CIVS, G-CIVV, G-CIVW, G-CIVX, G-CIVY, G-CIVZ
G-BYGA, G-BYGB, G-BYGC, G-BYGD, G-BYGE, G-BYGF, G-BYGG

777-200 (4 Class) - 23 Aircraft

​​​​​​G-VIIA, G-VIIC, G-VIID, G-VIIE, G-VIIF, G-VIIG, G-VIIH, G-VIIJ, G-VIIK, G-VIIL, G-VIIM, G-VIIN, G-VIIS, G-VIIV, G-VIIW, G-VIIY
G-YMMJ, G-YMMK, G-YMML, G-YMMN, G-YMMO, G-YMMP
G-RAES

​​​​​​777-200 (3 Class) - 14 Aircraft

G-VIIO, G-VIIP, G-VIIU, G-VIIX
G-YMMA, G-YMMB, G-YMMC, G-YMMD, G-YMME, G-YMMF, G-YMMR, G-YMMS, G-YMMT, G-YMMU

777-300 - 8 Aircraft

G-STBA, G-STBB, G-STBC, G-STBD, G-STBE, G-STBG, G-STBI, G-STBL

787-9 - 2 Aircraft

G-ZBKI, G-ZBKJ


This is the current cost for longhaul flights:

Basic (Browse package)
  • 1 hour: £4.99
  • 4 hours: £10.99
  • Full flight: £14.99

Fast (Stream package)
  • 1 hour: £7.99
  • 4 hours: £17.99
  • Full flight: £23.99

Longhaul aircraft planned NOT to have WiFi fitted
BA have decided to not fit WiFi to the aircraft listed below. Some of the aircraft are due to be retired from the fleet over the next two years. This is thought to be part of the reason for not fitting them with WiFi.

747 (Mid-J) - 16 Aircraft

G-BNLN, G-BNLY
G-CIVA, G-CIVB, G-CIVC, G-CIVD, G-CIVE, G-CIVJ, G-CIVK, G-CIVL, G-CIVM, G-CIVN, G-CIVO, G-CIVP, G-CIVT, G-CIVU

747 (Super Hi-J) - 1 Aircraft

G-CIVG

777-200 (4 Class) - 3 Aircraft

G-ZZZA, G-ZZZB, G-ZZZC

Longhaul aircraft still to be fitted with WiFi
WiFi installation on the remaining longhaul aircraft in operation is expected to be completed in 2020. Dates shown below are roughly when each aircraft is planned to return to service having undergone WiFi installation. Aircraft are listed firstly by type, then listed by planned return to service date.

Information shown may subject to change and is based on info posted in this thread.


A380

G-XLEC - 13 May (Currently at MNL)
G-XLEJ - 18 June
G-XLED - 18 August
G-XLEE - 24 October
G-XLEK - 29 November
G-XLEF - February 2020
G-XLEL - 2020

777-200 (4 Class)

G-YMMH - 13 May
G-YMMG - 23 May
G-VIIB - 30 June
G-YMMI - 13 July

777-200 (3 Class)

G-VIIR - 30 April (Currently at CWL)
G-VIIT - 24 October

​​​​​​777-300

G-STBK - 18 June
G-STBH - 27 November
G-STBF - 2020
G-STBJ - 2020

787-8

All expected to be fitted in 2020

787-9

G-ZBKK - 23 April (Currently at CWL)
G-ZBKH - 2 May
G-ZBKL - 3 July
G-ZBKM - 12 July
G-ZBKG - 20 July
G-ZBKN - 28 July
G-ZBKO - 20 August
G-ZBKP - 22 November
G-ZBKA - 2020
G-ZBKB - 2020
G-ZBKC - 2020
G-ZBKD - 2020
G-ZBKE - 2020
G-ZBKF - 2020
G-ZBKR - 2020
G-ZBKS - 2020
Shorthaul aircraft with WiFi fitted and enabled
Following testing the system went live on the first few aircraft in March 2019 with full rollout expected by summer 2019.

A320 - 3 Aircraft

G-GATK
G-TTNC
G-TTOE

The following aircraft have WiFi fitted and in use for testing purposes only:

A319 - 2 Aircraft

G-EOUA
G-EUPP

A320 (CEO) - 8 Aircraft

G-EUUG, G-EUUK, G-EUUL, G-EUUM, G-EUUN, G-EUUP
G-EUYE
G-TTOB

The cost of wifi on shorthaul flights is dependant on the route. So far the following prices are known:-

Messaging - £1.99 to £2.99

Browse & Stream (whole flight)
£6.99 (HAM)
£7.99 (LIS / PMI)
£8.99 (AGP)
£9.99 (SOF)

There have also been one hour browse & stream packages available for £4.99 reported on the LGW-PMI and LHR-SOF routes. It remains to be seen if this is a permanent feature or price-testing as the service rolls out.

Shorthaul aircraft NOT planned to receive WiFi
BA plan to withdraw a number of their A319 aircraft over the next two years. As a result the aircraft listed below will not be fitted with WiFi.

A319 - 30 Aircraft

G-EUOB to I
G-EUPA to K, G-EUPW
G-DBCA-H, G-DBCJ, G-DBCK
Background information:
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Old Mar 15, 19, 11:59 am
  #496  
 
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Google Therefore I claim no accuracy.

Airlines seem to be very cagey with information about their Wifi, and while there are a few different providers there arenít THAT many. It also seems to be a bit of a wild west still, with various different versions for the same providers, and airlines sometimes making strange choices for different planes, upgrading some and not others etc.

It is always going to be a shared resource, so it will continue to vary from one day and flight to the next.

For example Panasonic are in the process of upgrading their modems which seems to make a big difference so you donít know which version youíre getting even if you know itís Panasonic. But that big difference will probably get smaller once additional planes come online and suck it all up again and it gets split between more planes.

So what was once mentioned as really fast in a review might have just been down to that being the only plane in the sky using it. Two years later, the airlines having signed up, 300 planes having come online and no capacity improvements made the same service is dreadfully slow.

Fascinating to monitor though
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Old Mar 15, 19, 12:25 pm
  #497  
 
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Good points, and well made, thank you for taking the time to reply to my posts.

Hopefully the technology will keep pace with the demand. It wasn’t that many years ago that WiFi wasn’t available on a plane, and now everyone offers it. And hence probably the slowdowns, as you suggest. I’m really pleased with today’s service though.

I’m not back on BA long haul until June (Atlanta) and July (Vegas) but I’ll be trying one or other WiFi, if available.

Thanks again



Jim
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Old Mar 15, 19, 12:43 pm
  #498  
 
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Originally Posted by HighwayToHEL View Post
Good points, and well made, thank you for taking the time to reply to my posts.
Oh, no worries - I'm sure there's people more qualified than me, being an interested amateur.

Enjoy your flight!
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Old Mar 16, 19, 2:18 pm
  #499  
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Originally Posted by HighwayToHEL View Post
I am currently on QR572, and WiFi is infinitely better than anything I have ever had in the BA rollout (7 US/CA Flights in last 12 months). Browsing is both faster and more stable.

On my last BA (SEA to LHR about a week ago I was getting 7mbps but it was very erratic. On this flight Iím getting 1mbps but itís stable. Maybe BA are pushing it too hard?

Do the experts here know if QR are using different technology to BA? I know itís all satellite, and we are currently over water, but I never expected such a dramatic difference.

Maybe Iíve just been unlucky on the BA flights?
QR uses either Inmarsat's Global Xpress (fast) or SITAONAIR's OnAir (VERY slow, but also running on satellites owned by Inmarsat) depending on the plane. It is in the process of converting the OnAir installs to GX over time for many aircraft, too. BA uses Gogo's 2Ku solution for its twin-aisle planes and Inmarsat's EAN for the A320 family.

The long-haul service is all satellite powered but using different satellites and even different frequency bands between the two providers. There are also challenges around contention with other pax on board and with other planes in the same region sharing the same satellite beam. I've had a QR flight where I was basically the only passenger online and it worked great, but as we approached Doha others awoke on board and started using it, plus more QR planes were nearby causing further congestion on the satellite beam, all contributing to a degraded performance on the same plane/flight where it was great previously.

Also consider that the speed test numbers are a single point-in-time reference and rarely reflect real world or sustained use case. Plus, pretty much every inflight connectivity vendor will throttle back your connection if you use too much data too quickly. Running speed test a few times is a spectacular way to trigger that.

Separately, I've seen a report now of the messaging service pricing at GBP 2.99 rather than 1.99. So that also appears to be distance-based or otherwise variable.
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Old Mar 17, 19, 5:37 pm
  #500  
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G-VIIO will return tomorrow from CWL having had WiFi installed
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Old Mar 19, 19, 9:45 am
  #501  
 
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VIIO marks the 50% point of BA's wifi enabled longhaul fleet, if you don't include the A318. 67 out of 134 aircraft. To some people the uptake may seem slow but it's about one a week which isn't a bad rate in my opinion.
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Old Mar 19, 19, 11:07 am
  #502  
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Another shorthaul price point as I had G-GATK from PMI (<1000 miles) on Sunday night. No announcement made about Wifi but I had noticed it frequenting this route so was prepped.

£1.99 for messaging only (i.e. super low bandwidth suitable only for WhatsApp, iMessage, FB Messenger)
£4.99 for one hour
£7.99 for full flight (2h5m)

Thought this was expensive. Was expecting £4.99 for whole flight. I wonder if they are testing price points?
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Old Mar 19, 19, 11:17 am
  #503  
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Originally Posted by Scotflyer80 View Post
G-VIIO will return tomorrow from CWL having had WiFi installed
Slightly OT, that's the one from the LAS incident isn't it?
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Old Mar 19, 19, 12:56 pm
  #504  
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Slightly OT, that's the one from the LAS incident isn't it?
Hi,

Good recall , yes it was.

( been back in service since March 2016)

Regards

TBS
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Old Mar 19, 19, 10:24 pm
  #505  
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Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot View Post
Good recall , yes it was.
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Old Mar 21, 19, 9:25 am
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First Dreamliner to be fitted appears to be B789 G-ZBKI, just departed for NRT
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Old Mar 23, 19, 12:07 pm
  #507  
 
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Used the WiFi a few days ago on a flight back from DFW in F. It seemed ok but struck me that when you’ve paid several thousands of pounds for an F ticket, it’s not great to have to get your wallet out and pay £4.99 for an hour’s WiFi. Not many decent hotels charge for it these days, and Virgin Trains manage to differentiate between first and standard passengers and offer WiFi free in first. Am I being precious or do others find the charging a bit odd?
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Old Mar 23, 19, 5:00 pm
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On Iberia I usually get a few extra vouchers from the CSD. QR always had to pay, even in J, same for AA wifi.
On Turkish I got free wifi as TK Elite Plus, just had to login with my TK number and seat number.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 2:58 pm
  #509  
 
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Here's one more datapoint for you all... LHR-LIS on TTNC last week. Wasn't advertised at all, so I didn't see anyone using it. I didn't bother paying, but did use it to watch the embedded Netflix trailer and browse some flights on the BA app (free). Seemed pretty fast, but literally only used it for a few mins.

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Old Mar 28, 19, 6:49 am
  #510  
 
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G-GATP

currently on G-GATP and Wi-Fi available AGP-LGW, £8.99 for full flight package
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