For airlines’ business travelers, the must have facility nowadays is WiFi, and with passenger demands for in flight WiFi continuing to rise, most of the European major airlines are adding high speed and reliable connectivity services to their short haul flights. The passengers on the short-haul flights will be offered access to high speed internet using a combination of satellite and LTE based ground network which will be built by Deutsche Telekom and Britain’s Inmarsat. Deutsche Telekom said that they’d build a strong network 300 high capacity 4G base-stations all across Europe using a dedicated spectrum which would connect to the aircraft, with the coverage switching to Inmarsat satellites when the flights are over the sea.
That being said, the International Airlines Group expects that about 90% of its’ airlines fleets will get fitted with high quality internet connectivity by the year 2019. The first short haul aircraft to be fitted with WiFi connectivity will be the British Airways A321, which will be in service in the summer of 2017. Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus aircrafts will follow later in the same year, 2017. About 341 of their planes will get fitted with the WiFi technology including; 132 British Airways, 435 Iberia, 39 Aer Lingus A320 family aircraft. and 125 Vueling. In matters pricing, there’s no word yet on the costs, but it’s expected that the basic service will be offered free, with fees getting charged for the premium connections.
Germany’s Lufthansa Airlines will also be among the first airlines to offer high speed internet access on short and medium haul flights. Lufthansa, which currently offers wireless internet (or WiFi) only on their long haul flights, will start offering the service in the year 2017 as they seek out new methods to generate more revenue from their passengers. The airline aims to let its’ business travelers and other passengers check the news and chat with their friends while on board. The pricing will basically depend on the cabin class and the ticket pricing.
In conclusion, I would like to say that the short haul in-flight WiFi has huge potential to enhance the passenger’s experience for the European customers, and will allow the airlines to offer a much more tailored passenger/traveler experience. The passengers flying with these airlines will not only be able to access their emails using the on board WiFi, but they will also get to enjoy watching Netflix, checking their Twitter account, browsing the web, and chatting with their friends and family, once the service gets introduced.