Lufthansa’s in-flight broadband service FlyNet is set to return to service after a three year absence.
FlyNet, which provides mobile text messaging as well as high-speed wifi, first took to the skies in 2003 only to be discontinued three years later by Lufthansa’s then partner Connexion by Boeing.
But FlyNet is to be resurrected next year thanks to a new deal with Panasonic making Lufthansa the first airline to feature the eXConnect broadband service.
Lufthansa said it is planning “various price models” for the service such as an hourly charge or a flat monthly rate. Passengers may also be able redeem reward points for use of the service.
The improved service features a GSM/GPRS mobile network allowing text messaging and data transfer between smartphones such as PDAs, iPhones and Blackberrys.
Lufthansa said it hopes to equip a “major part” of its long-haul fleet with FlyNet within the first year of operation.
The German airline is the latest to unveil plans for an in-flight internet service. British Airways’ all-business London City to New York service, which launched earlier this month, features in-flight connectivity from OnAir.
Last year American Airlines, Virgin America and Delta Airlines all announced similar deals with Aircell for its Gogo Inflight Internet service. Boeing walked away from the in-flight mobile communications market in 2006 after a lack of take-up.
At the time Lufthansa was left with 69 FlyNet-equipped long-haul aircraft which it claims made it the largest internet-enabled fleet with around 30,000 users per month.
For more information visit lufthansa.com.
Report by Andrew Gough