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BA looking at broadband

Trials went well, but no decision if it will roll out across fleet yet

British Airways could follow in the footsteps of German airline Lufthansa following positive response to its three-month trial of in-flight broadband from Connexion by Boeing on its flights between London and New York.

Like the German carrier it decided to test out onboard high-speed internet before deciding whether to roll out the service across all its long-haul flights. The tests, which ran from February to April this year, saw business traffic down due to the war in Iraq, but BA said that the feedback from customers was positive.

It tested the broadband offering in three of its four long-haul cabins — First, Club World (aka business) and World Traveller Plus (aka premium economy). However a spokesperson said it has made no decisions about which, if any, cabins would receive the service should it go ahead with a commercial offering.

BA says that it is "still very much in the 'looking at [inflight broadband]' phase", according to a spokesperson, and has made no decisions as to whether to go ahead with this service or not. "We are going through the results of the trials to see if we want to move forward with it," he said.

This leaves BA trailing behind Lufthansa, which plans to roll out broadband services across its entire long-haul fleet starting in 2004.

But although BA admits that the trials show "broadband availability could influence passenger choice of an airline", it feels that this is only one factor of many that wins over business travellers. BA says it isn't too worried about competition from the high-tech cabins of its German competitor: "We have a superior business class offering to [Lufthansa] anyway," claimed BA's spokesperson.


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