After MySkyStatus, Cloudstream, Virtual Pilot, Lufthansa commences inflight broadband Internet

Lufthansa FlyNet service now available on board Introductory offer: Free surfing until the end of January 2011

German carrier Lufthansa which operated the world’s first scheduled flight with broadband Internet access on January 15, 2003, and operated on board net access till the end of 2006, is re-introducing FlyNet its on-board Internet access service.

FlyNet, is currently available on the Frankfurt-New York and Frankfurt-Detroit routes, and will be rolled out on the carrier’s complete intercontinental fleet by end 2011.

The system hardware is eXConnect from Panasonic in partnership with AeroMobile and Deutsche Telekom which operates in the US under the T-Mobile brand.

Flynet gives passengers with a WLAN-enabled laptop or smartphone unlimited online access at high bandwidths. In the spring of 2011, the system will support GSM and GPTS mobile phone data standards enabling use of mobile phones to send and receive SMS text messages and transfer data with smart phones such as the iPhone and BlackBerry. It is not clear whether Android will be supported, but it appears that it will.

Apple iPad on FlyNet

FlyNet will mimic a wireless hotspot for WiFi enabled devices and a mobile network connection with a GSM/GPRS-enabled device. The one hour pricing at 10.95 euros does not appear very competitive but the 24 hour flat rate of 19.95 euros does. A good feature of this service is that passengers can continue to access the internet for the duration of the 24 hour package on all connecting Lufthansa inter-continental flights equipped with Flynet or in Lufthansa lounges.

Lufthansa has been making aggressive strides in the online-onboard-digital-Web 2.0 space and offering passengers a variety of innovative services. The best part about the carrier’s approach it that it is not limiting these initiatives to only its passengers but instead making it available to passengers on virtually any airline, and using the opportunity for brand building.

In addition to its very popular and award winning MySkyStatus Web 2.0 service which automatically sends altitude, location, departure and arrival updates automatically to your Facebook and Twitter pages, the carrier has another great service called Cloudstream.

CloudStream is a tool that allows you to browse through a number of content categories and creates a “digital carry-on” for passengers to pack with their chosen content. It is essentially the first digital media platform that takes advantage of travelers’ time in air. Once you’ve complied and downloaded your content, you can save it to your pen drive, and read it on-board or at your leisure and even share it with friends. You can find supporters of Bangalore Aviation Shashank Nigam and Mary Kirby (the Runway Girl) in the “Featured” section of Cloudstream.

Another great past time is the Lufthansa Virtual Pilot game which builds upon the famous Traveler IQ Challenge game on Facebook.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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