Travelling is back! With a PCR-test in my back pocket and my Apple AirTag linked to my luggage, I set off to Germany last week. While lots of paperwork is just part of travel now, the looming fear of Ryanair or Aer Lingus cancelling your flights for sport is also everpresent. Sure enough that happened to me. So I jumped onto a Lufthansa flight instead and bought myself some WiFi to test out. Is it worth buying in-flight WiFi? Well, let’s find out.
FlyNet: Lufthansa In-Flight WiFi
Lufthansa is one of Europe’s more premium airlines. Much like buying Apple products purely because of the fruit logo, this doesn’t mean a whole lot anymore. Sure, you get a little more leg room and a free bottle of water with a chocolate, but it’s hardly Catch Me If You Can levels of air luxury.
Lufthansa does offer an ever increasing number of flights with in-flight WiFi. This service is called FlyNet. Not too long ago, such services were reserved for long-haul flights, but Lufthansa is rolling this out to more and more short-haul flights too. I had a flight from Frankfurt to Dublin which was about 1.5 hours long. Hardly long enough to typically justify paying for WiFi, but long enough for me to test drive the service.
So, let’s get stuck in.
Is Lufthansa’s In-Flight WiFi Worth Buying?
Let’s start the the review with what you’re really here for. The answer is that it depends. I bought the FlyNet Stream plan for €10. I was surprised at some of the great speeds I was getting. Running various tests during the flight, my speeds ranged from a plan-busting 16 Mbps to a snail’s pace 640 Kbps. Also, I got every speed in between. You have to remember that you’re aboard a plane moving at anywhere up to 800kmph. Satelittes will change regularly and struggle to keep you in their sights. But still, this is the service you’re paying for and it has to work.
At best, I would say the service was intermittent. I streamed a full 15-minute highlight package of Formula E without any lag or issue. The same can be said for streaming music or Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Netflix. RTÉ Player just wouldn’t work, but this could be more RTÉ’s problem than a Lufthansa issue to be fair.
While it worked well when it worked, there was a sizeable chunk of time on my relatively short flight spent trying to access the portal and get the WiFi connected to my iPad. You’re supposed to be able to transition from one device to another, but this didn’t work either.
I thought FlyNet would be terrible, but it delivered a better experience than expected. I feel I need to managed your expectations though because, while ok, it’s far from connecting to your home WiFi.
FlyNet: Lufthansa’s Available In-Flight WiFi Plans
The offering is pretty simple when in comes to picking a plan as there are only two on offer.
- FlyNet Mail and Surf
- FlyNet Stream
As you might guess, the first is aimed at those planning to answer emails which the latter targets the people who forgot to download the latest Netflix series to binge.
Cleverly, the price of each service varies based on your flight duration. I say cleverly because this means as a passenger, you don’t need to worry about working out limits or only watching a few shows. You’ll pay for your time and you can do what you like during that time.
Here’s a full breakdown of how Lufthansa charges for their in-air WiFi service. I’ve included the reward miles price too. After you book your outbound flight, you’ll likely have enough miles on your return flight to get something!
FlyNet Short And Medium-Haul Pricing
|Flight Time||FlyNet Mail and Surf (Euro)||FlyNet Mail and Surf (Miles)||FlyNet Stream (Euro)||FlyNet Stream (Miles)|
|Less than 1 hour||€3||1000||€7||2300|
|Over 2 hours||€7||2300||€12||3400|
|Max Speed||Up to 600 Kbps||Up to 600 Kbps||Up to 15 Mbps||Up to 15 Mbps|
FlyNet Long Haul Pricing
While I was testing short-haul, the technology is the same on long-haul, more or less. Here’s the pricing breakdown.
|Plan||FlyNet Chat||FlyNet Mail and Surf||FlyNet Mail and Surf Plus|
|Max Speed||Up to 64 Kbps||Up to 400 Kbps||None|
|Data Limit||None||500 MB||1 GB|
What Speeds Do You Get With Lufthansa FlyNet
I was pleasantly surprised by the speeds I was getting. The connection was choppy, but when it worked I was usually getting between 6 Mbps and 12 Mbps. I’d be happy enough with that in my Mam’s gaff in rural Ireland. But I can’t ignore that it wasn’t plain sailing. Any time I changed what I was doing, the problems came.
Switching between apps meant long waits to get going again, but if you settle in with a movie for a two-hour flight, you should be golden.
How To Connect To FlyNet
I had done some prep work prior to my flight, but it’s not necessary. When you board the plane, you’ll have to wait for take-off. Then, with your phone in Flight Mode tap the WiFi to turn it on. You’ll see the FlyNet WiFi appear if it’s available on your flight. Connect to this and then try navigating to any website in your browser. You’ll be redirected to the FlyNet portal where you can either enter your pre-purchased voucher code or buy one for your flight.
Extra FlyNet Perks
If youre on long-haul, you’ll get some additional perks including the ability to stream live TV channels and German Sports TV. All customers can use the WiFi to browse the Lufthansa website for online shopping and learn more about your destination.
Lufthansa In-Flight WiFi: The Verdict
If you’re mad for the streaming, then give it a go. Personally, I don’t think €10 is a massive barrier to entry here for what is still fairly young tech. I’m struggling to see why I’d ever buy this again. Maybe if you were going to be in the air for a Hurling match and had some miracle way of getting RTÉ Player to work, it could be justified. I did enjoy monitoring my flight live on Flight Radar and messaging my Mam from 35k feet.
But, at the end of the day, the question really is why not just download your shows and music before you go?