Some British Airways passengers have expressed an opinion that the experience in some of the airline’s Boeing 747-400 fleet is a little dated compared with its latest A380s and some rival carriers. Thus the airline has revealed that 18 of its 57 B747s are to receive a cabin refresh, including the installation of a state-of-the-art Panasonic eX3 IFE system. This system will replace the existing Rockwell Collins systems, and Panasonic is an interesting choice, as the airline’s newest aircraft feature Thales IFE systems. The A380’s system is the Thales i-5000, as also found on certain of BA’s B777 and A321 fleet, while the i-8000 system was selected for the B787.
The eX3 system, which will be installed from August 2015, will save weight, and will also be able to offer passengers a choice of more than 130 movies and 400 TV programs on larger, high-resolution screens, capable of touch and swipe gestures, giving the system the feel of using a tablet.
The refit, which will be carried out by British Airways’ engineers in Cardiff, Wales, will also include a cabin interior refresh to bring these B747s more in line with the airline’s newest aircraft. For example, new seat foams will be installed in World Traveller (economy) and World Traveller Plus (premium economy) to increase customer comfort, and new style seat covers will be fitted to improve appearance and match those on the airline’s A380s (pictured left) and B787s. All carpets and curtains throughout the aircraft will also be replaced, to match the new aircraft color pallet.
Also, to complement the new IFE systems, customers in World Traveller Plus on these aircraft will have access to a universal power socket at every seat, capable of accepting plugs from the UK, US and Europe, as well as a personal USB socket to power phones and tablets.
Kathryn Doyle, aircraft cabin interiors manager at British Airways, said: “Our customers love our new aircraft, and we wanted to refresh the B747s in line with them as we know the aircraft has a special place in the heart of many of our customers. These aircraft will get some well deserved TLC and the improvements will be really noticeable to our frequent fliers.”