Shown to passengers on transatlantic TWA flights, the first full-length feature film to play on an airliner was 1961’s By Love Possessed, starring Lana Turner and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Marking a milestone that history may well hold in equally high regard, Lufthansa on May 17 gave passengers on Flight LH452 from Munich to Los Angeles the opportunity to be the first in the world to surf the Internet on a revenue airline flight.
The successful launch of Connexion by Boeing’s airline service was confirmed by e-mail at 3:18 a.m. Pacific time when David Friedman, vice president of marketing for Connexion, sent the following message to his team back in Seattle: “Hello from 33,000 feet above Germany. The system is on and everything is A-OK. Lots of buzz on board, as this is the start of a new era of communications and aviation history.”
Called FlyNet, the Lufthansa service is the first of its kind to offer a fee-based broadband Internet service to airline passengers. Lufthansa charges a flat fee of $29.95 for the wireless Internet service on flights longer than six hours, $19.95 on shorter flights. Per-minute access is also available for $9.95 for the first 30 minutes and $0.25 for each additional minute. Lufthansa plans to expand the service to several more routes by the summer of 2006.