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Boeing prices up in-flight Wi-Fi

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Boeing has announced how much it will charge customers for in-flight wireless Internet access once its Connexion service goes live this Spring.

Connexion will charge $29.95 for long-haul flights - typically those taking six hours or more - $19.95 for 3-6 hour journeys and $14.95 for short hops.

These flat-rate options provided unlimited access for the duration of the flight. For travellers requiring shorter periods online - which is pretty much anyone without one of those ridiculously expensive aircraft power adaptors - Connexion will offer a metered service costing $9.95 for the first 30 minutes and 25 cents a minute thereafter.

Connexion was launched in April 2000, but passenger trials didn't commence until January 2003. Germany's Lufthansa was an early customer and was the first to offer the service on a trial basis. British Airways launched a three-month trial of its own a month later, in February 2003, offering holders of top-tier tickets Wi-Fi access on a single aircraft operating between London and New York. Lufthansa ran its trials on its daily Frankfurt to Washington route.

Since then, Boeing has signed Singapore Airlines, China Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) as customers of the commercial service.

Lufthansa will get it first, though, on long-haul flights out of Germany this Spring. The airline is currently equipping its 80-strong long-haul fleet with Connexion Wi-Fi kit as each aircraft undergoes scheduled maintenance.

Connexion provides each aeroplane with a broadband connection carried via satellite and through ground stations. Boeing recently agreed to hook the system up to Deutsche Telekom's ISP and carrier-oriented T-Systems WLAN Roaming Platform, allowing DT customers to offer roaming on Connexion flights to their own customers. ®

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