From December 1st long haul customers will be able to watch in-flight entertainment (IFE) from taking their seat until arrival .

British Airways has become the first UK airline to get CAA clearance to offer the extended viewing, meaning customers can watch for up to an hour longer.

The extension to in-flight entertainment, which will be available on the majority of long haul, is part of the £5 billion investment programme on new aircraft, refurbished cabins and better lounges.

Frank van der Post, director of brands and customer experience, said: “We’re continually looking for new services and products that will make travelling with us even better.

“We know how much our customers enjoy our in-flight entertainment so we’re delighted that now they’ll be able to pack even more of the programmes and films into their long haul flights.

“And with Christmas coming up we’re sure that children will love having more time to watch the great films we offer, and so will their parents.”

Like other UK carriers,BA currently starts its in-flight entertainment system once the aircraft has taken off and following various crew announcements and turns it off 15-20 minutes before the aircraft lands.

In-flight entertainment was introduced on British Airways’ predecessor BOAC on Boeing 707 flights to Moscow and Tokyo in 1970. Customers watched films projected onto a central screen in the middle of the aisle and bought a headset for £2 (£26 in today’s money).

Choice has gone up and cost down since then. The top five films watched in the last year were The Avengers, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Prometheus, Dark Knight Rises and Snow White and the Huntsman.

The top five audio tracks were Royal Wedding Highlights, Flomotion, British Airways in Conversation Series, Desert Islands Discs and The Selector.