The inflight broadband connectivity offered by Lufthansa has been very well received by customers. Since the launch of Lufthansa FlyNet in December, many passengers on longhaul flights to the United States have used the new service. “Email accessibility is immensely important, particularly for business travellers, but many leisure travellers are also taking advantage of the service,” says Christian Körfgen, Vice President Product Management and Innovation. “Meanwhile our surveys show that passengers are very interested in browsing the latest news on the Internet and accessing social networks.” Lufthansa is well on schedule and has already equipped 17 of its long-range aircraft with Lufthansa FlyNet, Körfgen explains. “Only two months after the introduction of this service, almost 20 per cent of our long-haul fleet is WiFi equipped.”
Through a hotspot, passengers have high-speed wireless access to the Internet via their laptop, iPad or smartphone. Thanks to the high bandwidth connection, e-mails – even with file attachments – can be sent and received without any time delay. Furthermore, FlyNet enables business travellers to connect to their corporate server via a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Data communication using the GSM and GPRS international cell phone standards will soon also be possible. In addition to WLAN, the communication options on board will then include cell phone text messaging and data transfer with smartphones such as the iPhone or BlackBerry. As before, however, passengers will not be permitted to use their mobiles phones to make calls.
Lufthansa offers the service in cooperation with its partners Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Deutsche Telekom. FlyNet is extremely easy to use. From any point in the aircraft cabin, passengers with a WLAN-enabled device can log on to the Internet in the same way as they would do at a public hotspot. After opening up their browser, they are automatically connected to the exclusive, free of charge Lufthansa FlyNet portal, which provides constant updates on business, political, sports and entertainment news. For Internet use various different billing options are available: passengers can pay by credit card or by redeeming Miles & More award miles. Alternatively, they can choose to be billed by Deutsche Telekom if that is their mobile service provider, or by an affiliated roaming partner. The one-hour flat rate is 10.95 euros or 3,500 miles; a 24-hour flat rate is available for 19.95 euros or 7,000 miles. Within the 24-hour period of validity, passengers can surf the Web on any connecting Lufthansa flight equipped with a hotspot or at a Lufthansa lounge after their flight.