Lufthansa FlyNet Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Updated for 2012

By Jonathan Spira on 11 April 2012
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Editor’s note: An Updated FlyNet FAQ was published on 10 October 2012 and can be found online here.

Lufthansa’s FlyNet in-flight Internet service, which was the world’s first in-flight Internet service when it launched back in 2004, is now available on more aircraft and more routes than before.

In late 2010, in conjunction with Panasonic Avionics and Deutsche Telekom, Lufthansa launched the second generation of FlyNet on the Airbus A330 aircraft. Today, 55% of the Lufthansa long-haul fleet has FlyNet on board. By the end of 2012,  almost all of the 102 aircraft in Lufthansa’s long-haul fleet will be outfitted with the FlyNet service.

1.) How does FlyNet work?
Passengers access FlyNet in the aircraft, similar to the way they would access Wi-Fi at a public hotspot anywhere in the world.  Deutsche Telekom, using its familiar T-Mobile brand, is Panasonic’s partner and serves as the Internet service provider while also handling billing and customer support.

FlyNet uses Ku band radio to provide satellite-based Internet communications using Panasonic’s eXConnect system.  The system works over water routes as well as land. By the end of 2012, the service will also support GSM/GPRS mobile devices using Panasonic’s AeroMobile-based eXPhone system.

2.) What can I do on FlyNet?
FlyNet allows you to access the Internet the same way you do at home, at the office, or from your hotel room. This includes Web browsing, e-mail, instant messaging, social networking, and access to corporate applications such as content management systems and CRM systems.

3.) How fast is FlyNet?
The service is advertised to support downloads at speeds of about 6 Mbps with upload speeds of about 1 Mbps but this is a shared resource and the speed at an individual seat will depend on how many passengers are using it and the kinds of applications that passengers are running, as some require bandwidth intensive than others.

4.) Does it support access to corporate networks?
Passengers can use VPN (virtual private network) software to connect to corporate networks via FlyNet.

5.) What does FlyNet cost?
There is a charge, regardless of which cabin a passenger is flying in. Two options are available. One hour of the FlyNet service costs €10.95 (or 3500 miles from a passenger’s Miles & More account). Up to 24 hours of the FlyNet service (which can also be used on a FlyNet-equipped connecting long-haul flight within the 24 hour timeframe) costs €19.95 (or 7000 miles).

Passengers can pay by credit card or charge the service to their T-Mobile account if they are a customer of T-Mobile or an affiliated roaming partner.

6.) Is there a free service?
While FlyNet itself is not free, all passengers are able to connect at no additional charge to the Lufthansa FlyNet portal, which provides regularly updated business, political, sports and entertainment news.

7.) When will FlyNet support GSM/GPRS data? What about 3G?
Lufthansa will offer GSM/GPRS service by the end of 2012. This will permit passengers to send and receive text messages, including ones with images.  Support for 3G has not yet been announced.

8.) Can I use Skype or other Voice-over-IP services with FlyNet?
While Lufthansa does not block VoIP, it does request that passengers refrain from using these services out of consideration for other passengers. Skype instant messaging, as well as other instant messaging and collaboration services, may be used with no restrictions.

9.) Which routes currently have FlyNet available?

Today, FlyNet is available on long-haul flights to and from North America, Central America, South America, the Middle East, Russia, Northern Africa, Japan, and Korea.   The service will be available on almost the entire intercontinental Lufthansa network by the end of 2012.

10.) What specific aircraft have FlyNet?
As of April 2012, 55% of Lufthansa’s long-haul fleet (58 aircraft) have FlyNet installed. Lufthansa launched the service with Airbus A330-300 aircraft and has since added Airbus A340-300/600 and Boeing 747-400 aircraft to the FlyNet fleet. For the Airbus A380, Lufthansa is currently evaluating possible retrofit options.

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