Watching Royal History Unfold at 30,000 Feet
Spafax, IAG Connect, British Airways, Red Bee Media and the BBC Deliver Live Stream of Royal Coronation to British Airways Passengers
Spafax, the global leader for airline content innovation, with partners IAG Connect, British Airways, Red Bee Media, and the BBC engineered an immersive live-streaming experience of the Coronation of King Charles III for British Airways passengers. On May 6, 2023, more than 4,000 individual passenger devices connected onboard BA flights to watch the Coronation, resulting in 11,000 sessions and over 2,000 viewing hours, reflecting high engagement and a seamless user experience.
This momentous day in British history was watched by more than 18 million viewers on the ground. But only British Airways and Spafax made it accessible to airline passengers thousands of feet in the air!
Innovative Live-Streaming: The heart of this entry lies in its innovative approach. Spafax and its partners streamed over three hours of live BBC coverage directly to passengers’ devices via BA’s inflight wifi portal, showcasing technical prowess and a deep understanding of passenger needs. The live broadcast showcased the King’s procession, balcony appearance, and the grandeur of the Westminster Abbey ceremony, transforming British Airways’ cabins into royal viewing chambers in the sky. The project developed over a nine-month timeframe, from initial discussions to the moment the Coronation stream went live.
Technical Excellence: The project’s success is a testament to technical excellence and effective collaboration across multiple organisations.
The stream was accessible on all connected aircraft in the British Airways fleet that were flying at the time on May 6. Passengers connected with their own mobile devices to watch the historic event unfold in real time. On the British Airways Wi-Fi Portal, they were greeted with a banner that provided clear instructions on how to click through to the live stream platform, a bespoke site that streamed only the Coronation.
This ambitious project leveraged the capabilities of Spafax One (launched at AIX 2023), a comprehensive toolset that represents Spafax’s business delivery methods across digital, technical, and process-based aspects. It consolidates Spafax’s services and products into a single, more accessible offering, making it easier for clients to execute an outstanding IFE experience.
Broader Passenger Experience: The live stream was complemented with in-flight surprises like a special afternoon tea and exclusive Joe & Seph’s Eton Mess popcorn. This thoughtful integration of themed culinary delights that paired with the live broadcast enhanced the celebratory atmosphere on board, elevating the passenger experience and making them feel part of this milestone event.
Industry-Leading Collaboration: The success of this initiative is rooted in the collaboration between Spafax, IAG Connect, Red Bee Media, and the BBC. Each partner brought unique strengths, from negotiating broadcasting rights to implementing complex technical solutions, ensuring a smooth, high-quality live stream. It also demonstrated Spafax’s capability to initiate and coordinate large-scale technical projects.
“This ambitious effort showcased the innovative and technical prowess that Spafax is known for,” said Paul Colley, Chief Technical Officer, Spafax. “Our ability to effectively collaborate with partners like Red Bee Media was crucial in overcoming the complexities of in-flight entertainment streaming. But it wasn’t just about technical achievements; it was about transforming the passenger experience.”
Conclusion: The Royal Coronation live streaming by Spafax for British Airways passengers showcased technical and collaborative expertise and demonstrated a pioneering step in enhancing the onboard experience. It allowed passengers on BA routes worldwide to partake in a significant historical event, redefining the boundaries of in-flight entertainment and connectivity. It’s an example of innovation, enhancing passenger experience through quality, timely and relevant content, and design functionality, perfectly aligning with the Onboard Hospitality Awards criteria.