Unlimited surfing and streaming in the skies over Europe – from now on, this will be the reality on many Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines aircraft. Internet access will also be available on Eurowings flights in a few weeks’ time. Up to now, 19 Lufthansa A320 family fleet aircraft, as well 31 Austrian Airlines and 29 Eurowings aircraft have been fitted with the necessary Wifi technology and satellite antennae for this service. Additional ones are in the process of being equipped. This new high speed technology has been successfully tested in the past months on both Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines flights.
The internet access works simply via Wifi using the passengers’ own mobile devices. The offers range from messaging services through surfing the net and even to video streaming. Customers can choose from one of three service packages. On Lufthansa flights, they comprise FlyNet Message for three euro FlyNet Surf for seven euro and FlyNet Stream for twelve euro per flight. Austrian Airlines will offer the same services at the same prices under the names myAustrian FlyNet Message, myAustrian FlyNet Surf and myAustrian FlyNet Stream. Passengers can either pay via credit card or payment services such as PayPal. Soon it will also be possible to make purchases by using Air Miles or via roaming partners.
The internet provision of the Lufthansa Group airlines and their technology partner Inmarsat uses the most advanced broadband satellite technology (Ka-Band) and offers seamless and reliable coverage on short- and medium-haul flights via the Inmarsat network Global Xpress (GX). The internet service provider and partner of Inmarsat is Deutsche Telekom. Lufthansa Technik is responsible for fitting the systems and components, as well as dealing with the required aviation regulations and other statutory authorizations. They are currently equipping the entire Airbus A320 family fleet of Lufthansa Group Airlines – Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings. Lufthansa Systems is providing the necessary technical infrastructure for internet connection on board. This includes the network operation in the aircraft – the technical prerequisite for Wifi on board – as well as the provision of the required software for the operation of each airline’s respective internet portal, through which the passenger gains access to the net.
Lufthansa has always been a pioneer when it comes to digitalization on board. As early as on 15 January 2003, the airline offered the world’s first long-haul commercial flight with internet access. Despite its growing popularity among passengers, the technically reliable service had to be discontinued in 2006 because the satellite operator ‘Connexion by Boeing’ ceased commercial operations. However, since December 2010 Lufthansa has once again been the first airline to provide broadband internet access on intercontinental flights. As of June 2015, FlyNet has been available on all 107 long-haul aircraft in the Lufthansa fleet currently in service. Eurowings has also been providing internet access on board of all its long-haul flights since the end of 2015. After the Boeing 777 had joined their fleet, SWISS also offered internet access on long-haul flights and is currently planning to introduce internet on board its short- and medium-haul flights from 2018 onwards.