Flying Wi-Fi

Lufthansa

Passengers flying on a Lufthansa flight from Munich to Los Angeles on Monday became the first to experience in-flight Wi-Fi – reports New Scientist.

Boeing’s Connexion system enables passengers to surf the web and send emails from their own Wi-Fi-enabled laptop or handheld computers instead of using the more limited services some airlines offer through their seatback displays.

The system, called FlyNet, has already been installed on five of Lufthansa’s fleet, with plans to extend this to all 80 of the German airline’s long-haul planes by the end of 2006.

Passengers will share a download capability of five megabits per second, while uploading traffic, such as sending emails, will run at one Mbps. The cost to passengers is $10 for half an hour, or a flat rate of $30 for the entire flight. It’s considerably cheaper that the $16 per email charged by some companies via seatback equipment, says the New Scientist article.

Seattle-based rival, Tenzing, has already hinted that is intends to offer better services soon. “We could leapfrog them in 12 months,” claims Tenzing’s Alex McGowan.

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