Lufthansa passengers travelling on long-haul flights can now once again enjoy the full freedom of online communication. Together with its long-standing partners Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Deutsche Telekom. Lufthansa will be the first airline to offer its customers broadband Internet access on intercontinental routes. The service, which will initially be provided on selected North Atlantic routes, will be available on nearly the entire Lufthansa intercontinental network by the end of 2011. “Inflight Internet on board our longhaul flights is an innovation in the interests of our customers,” says Thierry Antinori, member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board. “FlyNet complements the consistent communications service offering for Lufthansa customers at all points of the travel chain. It provides them with completely new and unique opportunities to spend their time on board or while waiting for connecting flights.”
The extremely fast, high-performance inflight Internet service gives passengers with a WLAN-enabled laptop or smartphone unlimited online access. Thanks to the high bandwidth, emails – including those with large file attachments – can be sent and received without any time delay. Business travellers can also access their company’s Virtual Private Network (VPN). In spring 2011, inflight data communication should also be possible using the mobile phone standards GSM and GPRS. In addition to the wireless Internet (WLAN) service, Lufthansa customers will then be able to use their mobile phones to send and receive SMS text messages and transfer data with smart phones such as the iPhone or PDAs such as BlackBerry.
FlyNet is incredibly easy to use. Passengers—no matter where they are sitting on the aircraft – can logon to the Internet with any WLAN-enabled device, just as at any public hotspot, or in the near future set up a connection with a GSM/GPRS-enabled device. After opening the browser, they can automatically access the exclusive, free Lufthansa FlyNet portal, where they will find constantly updated news about economics, politics, sports and entertainment. Via this portal they can access the Internet service provided by Deutsche Telekom, which is to be paid from February 2011 on. Service provider information detailing the various billing options is available on this portal as well, including payment via credit card, via integrated roaming partners or by redeeming Miles & More award miles. The price for one hour’s online access is 10.95 euros or 3,500 miles, while the 24-hour flat rate is 19.95 euros or 7,000 miles. Under the 24-hour flat rate agreement, passengers can access the Internet on all Lufthansa connecting flights equipped with a hotspot during the period of validity as well as after the flight in Lufthansa lounges. Thanks to the introductory FlyNet offer, inflight Internet access will be available for free on FlyNet-equipped aircraft until January 31, 2011.
Lufthansa operated the world’s first scheduled flight with broadband Internet access on 15 January 2003. From May 2004 until the end of 2006, when Lufthansa’s then-partner Connexion by Boeing discontinued the service, wireless broadband Internet enjoyed increasing popularity. The technology also proved very reliable. By the end of 2006, some 69 of Lufthansa’s long-range aircraft were equipped with FlyNet, making the Lufthansa fleet the largest Internet-enabled long-haul fleet in the world, with about 30,000 users per month.