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November 30, 2010

Lufthansa to Reintroduce Internet Connectivity on Some Long-Haul Flights

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

If you're not the sort of person who can easily sleep on airplanes, long-haul flights can be brutal: no Internet connectivity merely adds to the pain. If you're traveling for business, the old-fashioned trick of doing “paperwork” on flights no longer really applies. After all, who still works on paper?

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German airline Lufthansa revealed today that it will start lessening the pain for transatlantic travelers. The airline plans to begin offering Internet access to fliers on nearly its entire network by the end of next year, and it will kick off its Internet service by starting with some flights to North America.

The move is a first in the airline industry, said the company. “Lufthansa will be the first airline to offer its customers broadband Internet access on intercontinental routes,” said a spokesperson in a press statement.

It's not actually the first time Lufthansa will be offering Internet service. The German carrier first offered Internet connectivity to fliers in January of 2003, but was forced to discontinue the service three years later for reasons of cost.

The new system, nicknamed“FlyNet,” was developed by Panasonic (News - Alert) of Japan with Deutsche Telekom and will provide unlimited Internet access to passengers with a laptop, tablet or smartphone for 10.95 euros (about $14.21) or 3,500 frequent flier miles per hour. A 24-hour connection will be available for 19.95 (about $25.95) euros or 7,000 miles.

The service will be free on FlyNet-equipped aircraft until Jan. 31, 2011, said the airline. After that, passengers will be required to shell out.


Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf