Lufthansa will be the first European airline to introduce Wi-Fi on short and medium-haul flights a year before it is expected to become standard across the industry.
Passengers of the German airline will be able to use their smart phones to browse the internet, update social media and send messages on routes across the Continent and within Germany from next summer – but phone calls, on apps such as Skype, will not be allowed to maintain peace and quiet on aircraft. Lufthansa said such services will be banned “due to customer preference”.
Lufthansa is promising to offer passengers in the skies “the same quality and speed [of internet] as they are used to at home”, with even video streaming possible. A price on the service has not yet been decided.
A number of airlines offer broadband on long-haul fights but the same service on shorter flights is still quite rare - Norwegian is the only European airline to offer short-haul Wi-FI while it is more common on domestic US flights. Lufthansa has signed an agreement with German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom and UK satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat that means its will be trialling a ground-to-air Wi-Fi network with the capacity to cater for the entire European Aviation Network by 2017.
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The German airline’s move paves the way for other carriers to introduce Wi-Fi on their short-haul flights, with British Airways mulling it over.
BA currently only offers internet on its London City to New York service but Kathryn Williamson, a spokesperson for the airline, told Telegraph Travel: “British Airways is in discussions with Inmarsat about a new era of broadband in the air.
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