Lufthansa has managed to accomplish here is nothing short of incredible. While avid jetsetters have been enjoying in-flight WiFi on (select) domestic routes for a few years now, the in-flight fun has been coming to an abrupt halt when boarding a flight requiring a passport. The dream of long-haul in-flight internet has felt like a distant one, but it seems that the future is indeed happening today. The carrier's FlyNet service has been relaunched this week, and with assistance from Panasonic and the 802.11n gods that be, it's now offering broadband internet access on intercontinental routes. At first, the service will be limited to select North Atlantic routes, but access should be available on "nearly the entire Lufthansa intercontinental network by the end of 2011."
No specific performance figures are being released, but the company does call it "extremely fast" and quick enough to open large attachments "without delay." Better still, the airline will be enabling cellphone data access (GSM and GPRS) in the spring of next year, giving highfalutin' bigwigs the ability to send and receive the most expensive text messages of their life. Deutsche Telekom will be providing the actual internet service, with pricing set as such: €10.95 (or 3,500 miles) for one hour or €19.95 (or 7,000 miles) for a 24-hour pass that also allows patrons to access the web on "on all Lufthansa connecting flights equipped with a hotspot during the period of validity as well as after the flight in Lufthansa lounges." Oh, and did we mention that it's totally free through January 31st, 2011? It is.
Update: We're seeing expected uplink rates of 1Mbps, with download rates reaching 5Mbps. Not bad for being over an ocean.