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Bits: British Airways finally signs wi-fi deal, Electric Daisy Carnival, Four Seasons in Biarritz

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News in brief:

British Airways FINALLY announces a wi-fi deal

British Airways announced yesterday that it has reached a deal with US internet group Gogo to introduce its new generation wi-fi system on 137 long-haul aircraft.

Gogo’s 2Ku system will be installed on 118 British Airways aircraft, four Aer Lingus 757, and up to 15 Iberia long-haul aircraft.  Newer Aer Lingus and Iberia aircraft already offer a Panasonic wi-fi system and will not be upgraded.

My experience of in-flight wi-fi to date has not been great.  Due to capacity issues, you either charge nothing or a nominal sum and get an incredibly slow service (Emirates) or you charge a premium price which is unviable for anyone without a major expense account (Qatar).  The new Gogo system adds substantial capacity and should allow large numbers of passengers to undertake video streaming in parallel.

Don’t rush out to buy a new tablet yet.  The first test 747 will not be ready until 2017 and the full roll-out will take until 2019.

Electric Daisy Carnival

VIP package to the Electric Daisy Carnival

Hilton @Play, which lets you redeem Hilton HHonors points for ‘experiences’, has two interesting VIP packages available to the Electric Daisy Carnival in Milton Keynes.

Billed as ‘the ultimate single-day festival experience’, you will get two VIP ‘access all areas’ tickets, a tour of the festival prior to the doors opening and an overnight stay at the DoubleTree Milton Keynes hotel on 9th July.

Two packages are available at a fixed price of 100,000 Hilton HHonors points.  You can redeem here.

Hotel du Palais
Four Seasons takes over the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz

This may be slightly old news – by three weeks – but it had passed me by. Luxury hotel group Four Seasons has agreed to manage the iconic Hotel du Palais in Biarritz.

This might not mean much, but if you have ever been to Biarritz you will know that this is a wonderfully located historic property directly on the Bay of Biscay. It was originally built by Napoleon III for his wife Eugénie. Once a bit of Four Seasons magic has been sprinkled over it (plus €50m of refurbishment) it should be a fantastic base for a weekend break.

Meanwhile, Four Seasons Canary Wharf in London is now the Canary Riverside Plaza Hotel. On the face of it, it may be surprising that the hotel is unbranded after FS ceased management. However, I know that Four Season management contracts are incredibly tight and often include a clause which stops a hotel operating under another brand for a number of years if FS is forced out. We saw this in Provence a few years ago.

Comments (31)

  • Aliks says:

    I’ve used Qatar wifi a couple of times recently and it varies between OK and useless from London to Doha.

    Further East its non-existent. There was no signal at all over India and China, and the stewardess blamed lack of ground links in those two countries.

  • AndyGWP says:

    I was more than happy with the $3 (£2) I spent on Gogo “Messaging” wifi on the AA LAX-> JFK transcon service. It provided me with Whatsapp functionality for the whole 5’ish hour flight, and was more than helpful enough for me to pass the time chatting away with people / groups of people 🙂

    There used to be a ‘cheat’ to get 10 minutes free Gogo Wifi on AA planes, but I don’t know if it still works (involved mucking about in the app store) –> worth a google if you’re interested in ’10 minute’ chunks of data access (if it still works!)

    • r says:

      That’s different from what BA is getting though. Go go service in the US is effectively a cellphone service (which generally is fast and reliable), but on transatlantic routes they have to rely on a satellite connection which makes it much slower. I’ve used Go go and the new Panasonic system on AA thought and connection has been good and pretty reliable for work email, whatsapp etc. I just need it so I’m not out of pocket for 8-9 hours. Don’t care about streaming movies etc.

  • AndyGWP says:

    Here’s the article for those that are interested… I’ll let someone else confirm if the hole has been plugged 🙂

    http://flyanddine.boardingarea.com/genius-flight-hack-free-wi-fi-on-us-air-aa-delta-and-more/

  • AndyGWP says:

    Detail on the Gogo messaging pass here:
    http://concourse.gogoair.com/inside-gogo/gogo-introduces-a-new-way-to-stay-connected-in-flight-with-messaging-pass

    (I must’ve been on a trial / pilot of the service, as I used it in November! 🙂 ) – I’d be more than happy if this service existed on a BA flight with a similar pricing structure. Note that you can’t (or couldn’t) send pictures / photos using the Message Pass option

  • Rimas says:

    OT: Europe to New Zealand on Qatar have interesting prices on Business Class return from December 2016. Secret Flying info.

  • harry says:

    OT pat on the back time – let me hear your pat on the back, too 🙂

    Half term in a couple of weeks – 4 of us, current tickets price @ nearly £2700.

    I guess we paid 60000 Avios + £140 = £542.

    Avios value = (£2700 – £140) = £2560
    £2560/60000 = 4.2p/ Avios 🙂

  • Gavin says:

    I used wifi on a flight from ORD-SFO. Was it worth the expense? Arguably not. However novelty factor and the fact it killed a few hrs were valuable. Would I use it again? No? But I’m not important enough to need to use it really!!

  • World Traveller says:

    I think IAG have been quite smart with this; by doing it across the group they have the economy of scale for the installation.

    By being a late adopter they immediately jump the pack in terms of speed, sometimes being an early adopter puts you at a disadvantage once the technology develops. Some of the current onboard wifi offerings are barely fit for purpose. The GoGo option promises up to 70MBps… better than pretty much anything out there currently.

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