British Airways will offer content from streaming video provider Paramount+ on board its long-haul fleet. The partnership offers passengers access to an increased range of entertainment content, but stops a step short of bringing true streaming to all passengers on board.
This partnership is a fantastic platform for our continued growth in the UK, allowing us to introduce millions of customers a year to some of the best shows anywhere, available on Paramount+. We’re confident that British Airways customers will love what they see and be encouraged to continue exploring the mountain of entertainment on offer.– Anna Priest, Chief Marketing Officer, UK, at Paramount
Customers will be able to watch a curation of exclusive Paramount+ series targeting all ages on the airline’s Highlife entertainment platform, including HALO, The Offer, Queen of the Universe, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years, iCarly, Yellowstone and the Star Trek series.
The content will be available on the carrier’s embedded IFE screens across all cabins on the long-haul fleet. Passengers will also be presented with an option to subscribe to Paramount+ as part of the offering, allowing them to continue watching before and after their flight.
British Airways will also offer a complimentary month of service to Bronze, Silver and Gold tier members of the company’s Executive Club loyalty program.
“We know that customers are really going to enjoy the hours of content that this partnership with Paramount+ brings. There really is something available for everyone!” – Calum Laming, British Airways’ Chief Customer Officer
Key to this offering, however, is that it is not open access to the streaming library while in flight. Indeed, passengers won’t be streaming the content at all, despite all the planes carrying high speed in-flight internet systems on board. Instead the airline and Paramount will stage “a selection of episodes from many series” into the Highlife entertainment system. Passengers can choose from those episodes on board.
This is similar to the 2019 partnership between Delta and Hulu, adding content but not enabling the full capabilities of the streaming service. And while some might argue this represents the next step in caching of streaming content on board, that’s not an argument I’m willing to buy. Or, if it is truly that, then passengers are not getting sufficient value from that approach.
On the plus side, British Airways and Paramount hosted a cool activation at Heathrow, where five Star Trek characters passed through the terminal in search of their flight. Unsuspecting customers and colleagues were taken by surprise as the Starfleet cadre made its way through the airport to board U.S.S. Enterprise flight 1701 to Starbase 1.
The authentic Starfleet costumes from Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds were carefully flown in direct from set, with the lucky costume wearers made up of the airline’s Star Trek-loving colleagues. The Star Trek franchise’s costume designer, Bernadette Greaney, styled five colleagues in unique lieutenant uniforms from Command, Operations and Sciences, with two transformed into Vulcans by Star Trek’s prosthetics team and dressed in the state-of-the-art Vulcan robes.
Bringing characters together from different universes, nearly a thousand years apart, was a first for the Star Trek franchise, with genuine props, including Tribbles, Federation passports and an original Tricorder.
“We wanted to kick-off this announcement with Paramount+ in true blockbuster-style by bringing some of their exclusive content to life, directly to our home at Heathrow Terminal 5,” said Calum Laming, British Airways’ Chief Customer Officer. “It was great to see so many Star Trek fans from across the business come together to help us celebrate this launch, with many colleagues excited to swap their wings for the Starfleet Insignia for a day.”
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