Japan Airlines (JAL) started the first real-time, high-speed Internet access available to passengers flying out of the United Kingdom. The maiden flight on December 11 of flight JL402 from Heathrow marks the beginning of the new service provided by Connexion by Boeing. The inaugural flight from Tokyo to London occurred Dec. 9.
Passengers using JAL SkyOnline, with Internet service provided by Connexion by Boeing, will have access to the World Wide Web; two-way, real-time email; virtual private network capability; and the ability to stay via instant messaging services while in flight.
Initially, high-speed Internet service will be provided in first, business and economy classes on flights between Tokyo and London. JAL SkyOnline will also feature a selection of free content, including news, weather and airline and flight information. During the initial three months of service, a Connexion by Boeing technology specialist will be aboard the flights to support Internet use by customers in both English and Japanese. In the future the service will be extended to other long-haul flights on routes between Japan and Europe and Japan and the Americas aboard Boeing 747-400 and 777 aircraft.
Recent agreements between Connexion by Boeing and iPass, NTT DoCoMo, T-Systems, NTT Communications, SingTel, Starhub and Infonet provide multiple payment options for consumers. In addition, Connexion recently announced a trial agreement with Vodafone, one of the world's largest mobile services provider, aimed at extending Vodafone's laptop data mobility services in-flight.
The two initial pricing plans, which will vary depending on flight length, are as follows:
Flat-Rate Pricing Option: (Unlimited access to the Internet) US$29.95 for long-haul flights (more than six hours); US$19.95 for medium-haul flights (between three and six hours); and US$14.95 for flights less than three hours.
Metered Pricing Option: For flights less than 3 hours: 30-minutes starter package for US$7.95 with rates of US$0.25 per minute thereafter. For flights more than 3 hours: 30-minutes starter package for US$9.95 with rates of US$0.25 per minute thereafter.