In addition to all the new technology and efficiencies found within the A350’s airframe, Lufthansa has added a twist to the Inflight Entertainment System that should ‘WOW’ passengers.
With the introduction of the A350, LUFTHANSA introduces a new tool that will allow passengers to customize what Movies, TV Shows, Music, and other media they can enjoy up to 6 weeks prior to their flight. By using the ‘Lufthansa Companion App’, you will now be able to see your IFE menu weeks ahead of your flight, and can use your smart-device or tablet to create your customized menu of content you wish to enjoy during your A350 flights.
Once you’ve installed the app, you can enter your flight details at which point you’ll be presented with your IFE menu. From that point, make your selections and when you board your flight you’ll be able to sync your customized menu to your seat-back display and will immediately have your personal list loaded onto the aircraft’s system. What’s more, you can also use your smart device separately to view your IFE selections while on board.
The IFE system on the A350 is a customized version of Panasonic’s EX3 system which has the capacity to provide upwards of 100 Movies, 200 TV shows, and a myriad of Music and other content. This clearly marks the best that LH has to offer when it comes to Inflight Entertainment Systems.
The App should be available in your ‘local’ App Store in the coming weeks, timed with the introduction of the A350’s entrance into passenger service on February 10.
I’ll get to see the new system up close and personal later this week. If the app is released by then, I’ll come back with a follow up showing how it works.
Austrian provided an update today as it relates to the introduction of Wifi aboard their Airbus fleet.
As part of a broader roll out, Austrian now has outfitted 10 narrow-body Airbus aircraft with Wifi capability and has ‘turned on’ the ability in 4 of these aircraft for a trial period with passengers. During the trial period, passengers will be able to access the service for no charge.
As the service becomes available on the remaining 6 aircraft, Austrian will introduce a 3-tiered cost structure based on the kind of service that the passenger selects:
FlyNet Messaging will enable passengers to access their e-mail, chat services such as WhatsApp, iMessage, and others. FlyNet messaging will cost €3 per flight.
FlyNet Surf will include FlyNet Messaging as well as the ability to surf the internet via the passenger’s smart device or laptop. FlyNet Surf will cost €7 per flight.
FlyNet Stream will include ‘Messaging’ and ‘Surf’ as well as the ability to video to their device. FlyNet Stream will cost €12 per flight.
Austrian has made it its policy to prevent these services from allowing voice-calls to be made while using FlyNet. A very good idea if you ask me.
Austrian expects the trial period to end in the in next few weeks for the 4 aircraft currently being used to test the connectivity. Once that trial is complete, Austrian will ‘turn on’ the FlyNet service aboard the other 6 Airbus aircraft later this quarter.
I suspect that further announcements will be made relatively soon regarding the expansion of the service to the rest of the ‘OS’ fleet.
LUFTHANSA has announced that passengers will be able to purchase insurance to protect their electronic devices against damage and theft during an entire trip. The ability to purchase the coverage will be included during the booking process and can be added to an itinerary up until the day of departure.
The insurance covers most electronic devices such as tablets, phones, notebooks, etc. The protection provides coverage against damage due to spills, drops, glass breakage, and damage due to the ‘elements’. It also covers damage caused by overheating or fire. The coverage is pro-rated based on the age of the item. Passengers do not have to register their devices in order to receive coverage.
The cost of the insurance is €39.99 for individual travelers and €49.99 for a family ‘plan’. The coverage protects the traveler for the first 42 days of a trip. However the coverage resets for every trip for one year (from the date of original purchase of insurance). For example, if I take a 30-day trip starting today and buy the coverage, I’ll obviously be covered. When I take another trip in 3 months, the policy will still be in force, and it will start another 42 day period. There is no limit on the amount of trips that are covered within the policy year.
The coverage is pro-rated based on the age of the insured device. A device that is less than one year old is insured for full replacement (maximum of €3000). For devices between 1 and 2 years old, coverage will be capped at 80% of value, and for devices between 3 and 5 years old, coverage is capped at 60%. There is no coverage for devices that are older than 5 years.
I wish this coverage had been available 3 years ago when turbulence on a flight between Munich and Hong Kong decided to knock over a bottle of water and fried my MacBook Pro!