Lufthansa pilots onboard WLAN service

On flight LH 418 from Frankfurt, Germany, to Washington, DC, Lufthansa AG began on Wednesday a three-month trial for a new onboard wireless broadband service that allows travelers to connect to the Internet some 10,000 meters in the sky.

Lufthansa is the first airline in the world to provide a high-speed WLAN (wireless LAN) service during a scheduled flight, the company said Wednesday in a statement.

The German airline is working with Connexion by Boeing, a unit of The Boeing Co. in Seattle, to provide the satellite-based onboard data communications service, called FlyNet. The two companies have been collaborating since June 2001.

On the ground, Lufthansa is partnering with Vodafone Group PLC to provide WLAN services in 55 airport lounges around the globe. The lounge service will be available beginning in March

Lufthansa’s new airborne WLAN service will be available for free to all passengers on flights between Frankfurt and Washington, D.C., until April 15, the airline said. Beginning in 2004, the service will cost between