Lufthansa to Bring Back Onboard Net Access

Lufthansa is planning to re-introduce FlyNet, its satellite-based service that will let passengers use broadband Internet onboard, in mid-2010. In addition to the wireless access, the newly improved service will permit inflight data transfer over standard GSM/GPRS mobile networks. This will enable Lufthansa passengers in the future to also send text messages by mobile phone and transfer data via smartphones such as PDA, iPhone or BlackBerry devices. Together with its new business partner Panasonic, Lufthansa plans to equip a major part of its long-range fleet with FlyNet within the first year of operation.

Lufthansa reps have said that the company is focusing on providing high bandwidth, which is essential for unrestricted web surfing, e-mail/file transfer including attachments, and the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). In addition, this quality bandwidth will enhance the possibility of additional operational applications such as telemedicine, in which a patient’s vitals can be quickly transmitted to a ground station.

With FlyNet, passengers with a Wi-Fi or GSM/GPRS-compatible device can log on from any point in the aircraft cabin. Depending on the device they are using (i.e. a laptop or a smartphone), passengers can choose to be billed via a mobile service provider or pay by credit card. Various price models are planned, ranging from a one-hour flat rate to a monthly flat rate. Passengers should also be able to redeem award miles for use of the Wifi Internet connections. The exact price for specific products will be announced at a later date.