Lufthansa announces new Wi-Fi in the sky service, FlyNet: Lufthansa was the biggest adopter of Connexion by Boeing in the early part of last decade, and wanted to reach an accommodation to keep it running when Boeing shut it down. The airline has been looking for the right partner to bring service back ever since, and Panasonic Avionics has come through. Panasonic started talking about relaunching a Connexion-like Ku-band satellite service in September 2006, even before Boeing down in-flight service (see "Panasonic May Relaunch Connexion," 19 September 2006).
Although the exact plane count isn't set, Lufthansa said it will equip almost all of its intercontinental craft, having service in place on all such planes by the end of 2011. It's possible that Boeing's Connexion retrofitting may make it cheaper to put in Panasonic's gear, too. The service starts with Internet access via Wi-Fi, although GSM/GPRS access (via an onboard picocell) will be added "in the future."
The pricing is quite aggressive. €19.95 or 7,000 Lufthansa air miles get you 24 hours of unlimited access across any equipped Lufthansa flight and in the airline's lounges. The hourly price is €10.95, which seems crazily high, but they want to push you to pay the 24-hour rate as a sweet spot. Lufthansa's long-haul flights can range from five hours to well over a dozen.
Service will be free until 31 January 2011, but the press release doesn't say when the first Flugzeug with restored access will take off.
(I wanted to write the headline: "Drahtlose Internet und Lufthansa Wiedervereinigen!" but I realized only five readers would get the joke.)