Swiss will see its Swiss Connect inflight Internet service extended across the rest of its fleet in 2018, following this year's final fit-out of siblings Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines.
The satellite-based WiFi system made its debut on Swiss' new Boeing 777-300ER jets, which we reviewed here, but is not yet available on shorter-range European flights.
"Every month we have several aircraft getting modernised for the Internet, so by the end of the year more or less the whole Lufthansa fleet will have this," Lufthansa group executive Harry Hohmeister told Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of this month's Star Alliance media briefing in Frankfurt.
"By the end of the year Austrian will also be done, and Swiss is on the agenda for 2018," Hohmeister said.
"For some technical reasons it was better to do the modifications a little bit later (than Lufthansa and Austrian), but during 2018 more or less the whole Swiss fleet will then be ready."
Let's hope the pricing comes down, as Swiss Connect on the Boeing 777-300ER is among the world’s most expensive inflight WiFi services.
The least expensive option is 20MB for 9 Swiss Francs (A$12.50), which the airline suggests is best “if you just intend to shortly check your emails or visit a couple of websites.”
But we can tell you from experience that this won’t go far, especially if you want to share some in-flight selfies on social media.
At 19 Swiss Francs (A$26.50) the mid-range 50MB pass is a safer bet, or you can go all out with 120MB for 39 Swiss Francs (A$54).
For their part, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines have completed their free trial of the FlyNet Ka-band Inmarsat Global Xpress satellite service on domestic and regional European flights and have moved over to a paid service 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
David Flynn travelled to Frankfurt as a guest of Star Alliance