• United States

E-mail in the sky

Feb 13, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* Update on e-mail offerings from airlines

Back in June 2001, I wrote about e-mail and Internet access offerings available on some airlines. Here’s an update.

Last month, Lufthansa inaugurated a three-month test of FlyNet, its broadband Internet service on flights between Washington, D.C., and Frankfurt, Germany. The testbed, a Boeing 747-400, provides passengers with Internet and e-mail access, including the ability to send and receive attachments through e-mail.

Lufthansa’s plan is to outfit about 80 of its longer-range Boeing and Airbus aircraft with this technology by the middle of 2004. The technology was developed by Connexion, a Boeing company. It uses a solid-state, phased-array antenna to communicate between satellites, ground stations and aircraft.

British Airways plans to begin a three-month test of the Connexion broadband system in February. Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) will offer the Connexion broadband system on 11 of its long-range aircraft in 2004.

Cathay Pacific offers high-speed e-mail capabilities on some of its long-range flights for first class, business class and some economy-class customers. The e-mail system requires a subscription and is provided by Tenzing. In addition, all of Cathay Pacific’s aircraft will offer power connections for laptops by year-end. Cathay Pacific also offers fax services.

Since last summer, Singapore Airlines has been offering passengers on some flights its Inseat Messaging Service, which permits the transmission of 160-character e-mails and SMS messages. A nice feature of the service is that it can be used with the handsets and monitors available at the seat and does not require customer-supplied equipment to send messages.