British Airways are the largest remaining operator of the 747. They have over 50 747s currently active based out of Heathrow (world wide fleet) and Gatwick (beach fleet). Yet up until today there was no word on how the airline would move forward with them, given that they committed to keeping the 747 fleet active for some time yet last year.
Here’s the great reveal: they’ll look much like the refurbished 777 fleet with some minor ‘adjustments’ here and there, especially in Club World.
Mood lighting will now feature as it does on the new 777-300 fleet as well as the A380. About time.
New carpets and seat foams.About time.
IFE upgrade – the 747s will match the A380 fleet featruing the state of the art Panasonic eX-3 system that will feature over 1,300 hours of touch screen HD entertainment which equates to about 130 films and 400 TV shows. Screens will be enlarged as well. Universal power plugs will be installed in First, Club and World Traveler Plus while all classes will get USB ports. No match for Singapore’s KrisWorld, Emirates’ ICE or Cathay Pacific’s CXStudio systems, but its a start. About time.
First and Club seats will stay the same (though Club will get 14 more seats squeezed in, with BA intending to crew the aircraft the same) – World Traveler Plus and World Traveler will get the new updated seats which should up the comfort levels for all even if pitch and width aren’t being changed. About time.
While this is essentially much ado about nothing given that its more of the same from the 777 and 380 fleet, its definitely welcome upgrade from some of the tired 747 interiors that are currently flying around for BA – given that the airline intends to keep these 747s for a while longer, this was a needed if not delayed upgrade to the backbone of their long haul fleet.
FYI the refurbished 747s are currently only serving flights to New York JFK, Chicago, Dubai, Riyadh and Toronto – essentially the only ‘prestige’ 747 routes left within BA’s long haul international network.