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European Aviation Network powers live television broadcasts from British Airways flight

ITV journalist shares his travel experience on one of the UK’s first flights to green-listed Portugal.

As part of the UK’s gradual easing of lockdown rules, today marked the resumption of flights to a small number of green-listed holiday destination countries outlined by the Government’s new travel traffic light system, with hundreds of passengers flocking to airports.

To provide some insight into what the new passenger experience looked like, ITV’s Good Morning Britain (GMB) programme broadcast live onboard on a British Airways (BA) flight from London to Lisbon using our award-winning European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight broadband service.

“[It’s] incredible that [we’re] at 35,000 feet over the coast of France and flying into Lisbon from there. This is quite an incredible experience, [the] first time I have broadcast live from a plane,” said journalist Jonathan Swain while he interacted in real-time with the show’s hosts in the studio, with the camera operator in the flight then panning towards the aircraft window to show beautiful views of the coastline.

A new digital passenger experience

In the crystal-clear broadcast, Swain sat amongst other passengers on the aircraft and explained that booking a holiday wasn’t as simple as it might have been in the past. Although he stated that changes to the airport experience were minimal, he outlined the need for additional preparation before flying. In addition, even when visiting green-listed countries, passengers are required to take three COVID tests.

British Airways has implemented other safety practices too, such as using its digital strategy to enable passengers to read the airline’s popular inflight magazine online. As passengers begin to regain confidence about travel in a post-pandemic world, forward-thinking airlines have put in place as many touch-free experiences onboard as possible, to help lower the risk of transmission of the virus.

Our recent Passenger Confidence Tracker, which surveyed 9,500 people across 12 countries, indicated that 79% of all passengers say their confidence would be increased while in the air if they were provided with destination status alerts, real time information and news about the place they were flying to. Thus, enabling passengers to use their personal devices onboard to access this information, as well as retail services could bring further peace of mind, as they access touchless technologies.

Our high-speed EAN inflight connectivity, developed with Deutsche Telekom, also means that passengers can stay in touch throughout their journey for reassurance. They can also use social media and access online streaming services to keep themselves busy and provide welcome distractions.

A growing desire to stay connected

When flights last resumed over the summer in 2020, EAN saw a significant increase in users. During a number of weeks over that period, EAN take-up rates on BA flights soared by up to 10 times the usual rate, indicating that the demand for connectivity is higher than it has ever been. A trend that is predicted to continue when passengers take to the air again, as digital transformation has been at the heart of many airlines’ plans for recovery.

The effect of this recent relaxation of travel rules on the travel industry is yet to unfold, but the aviation industry is hopeful that pent up travel needs will come to the fore, and people will book more trips abroad over the coming months. As the demand for travel increases, we will continue to support airlines and their customers with our unique EAN solution.

Passenger Confidence Tracker

Increased digitalisation is key to rebuilding passenger confidence says survey that reflects the views and attitudes of flyers from across the globe