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The frustration of not being able to watch an in-flight film to the end could become a thing of the past.
British Airways has reached an agreement with the Civil Aviation Authority which will allow passengers to use an aircraft’s in-flight entertainment system from the moment they reach their seat to when they arrive at their destination.
This will only apply to BA’s new generation of seatback inflight systems, and will not change the regulations for passengers using their own iPads or other tablet devices.
Up until now passengers had to wait more than half an hour before being able to watch a film. The entertainment system has also been turned off about 20 minutes before landing, for safety reasons.
Following a series of trials BA has satisfied the CAA that its new in-flight entertainment system will not interfere with the normal running of the aircraft. In addition the pilot can override the entertainment for important safety notices, such as telling as telling passengers to fasten their seatbelts during turbulence.
The change, which begins on Saturday, will also end the ritual of cabin crew collecting headsets from passengers during the closing stages of the flight.
Instead passengers will be expected to leave them on the seat before disembarking. There will be little point in anyone taking a headset with them because they will not work with devices such as iPods and other MP3 players.
BOAC, one of the companies which eventually became part of British Airways, introduced in-flight films in 1970 on flights to Moscow and Tokyo.
Then passengers watched a film which was projected onto a screen in front of them, having paid £2 for a headset to enable them to listen to the soundtrack.