Lufthansa will offer free inflight Internet access on selected flights within Europe as the airline begins to roll out the satellite-based FlyNet technology across its Airbus A320 fleet.
The German flag-carrier, and its sibling Austrian Airlines, will each upgrade five A320s to the high-speed satellite service over the coming months, and "passengers who fly on these aircraft will be offered free Internet use during this test phase."
"The analysis of the user behaviour will provide the data necessary to further enhance the service ahead of its market launch," Lufthansa adds, with future pricing pegged at €3 (A$4.30) to €12 (A$17.30) depending on the usage.
- The €3 FlyNet Message will restrict access to "messaging services" such as email, iMessage and WhatsApp
- For €7, the FlyNet Surf package covers standard Web and Internet usage
- The €12 FlyNet Stream option taps into the full 'broadband in the sky' service for streaming music and video
Lufthansa expects its entire Airbus A320 fleet is to be fitted out with the fast Ka-band Inmarsat Global Xpress tech by the middle of 2018, while the upgrade of all 31 aircraft at Austrian Airlines is slated to finish before the end of April 2017.
Lufthansa's low-cost arm Eurowings will also adopt the technology, launching by March 2017 and outfitting the 69-strong Eurowings fleet by mid-2017.
As for Swiss, the new Boeing 777-300ER jets already come with inflight Internet and Lufthansa says an extension to "short haul and mid-range (flights) is currently also under consideration."