Airline revives in-flight Internet service in a deal with Pansonic’s exConnect
Lufthansa plans to revive its in-flight Internet service next year. While Lufthansa was once a pioneer in airline Wi-Fi — the airline offered the world’s first scheduled flight providing broadband Internet in 2003 — but dropped the service after service provider Boeing discontinued its Connexion service in 2006.
Lufthansa is now partnering with Panasonic’s new broadband service, exConnect. Passengers will not only have WLAN Internet access but will also be able to send SMS messages by mobile phone and transfer data with smartphones such as iPhones or BlackBerry devices. Lufthansa aims to equip a major part of its long-range fleet with broadband within the first year of operation.
“In terms of communications, Lufthansa customers can look forward to a top-tier inflight service,” Lufthansa CEO and Chairman Wolfgang Mayrhuber said in a statement. “On long-haul routes, we offer business travelers, in particular, a range of communications options on a par with those available at powerful hotspots or upmarket hotels.”
Depending on the device they are using, passengers can choose to be billed via a mobile service provider or pay by credit card. Various different price models are planned, ranging from a rate by the hour to a monthly flat rate. Passengers should also be able to redeem mileage awards for the use of WLAN Internet connections. The exact price for specific products will be announced at a later date. The service will gradually become available on all Lufthansa’s long-haul flights worldwide.