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More Long-Haul WiFi Action Coming Next Year Onboard KLM and Air France

June 12, 2012 at 12:20 PM | by | ()

"Eventually" is definitely better than "never," which goes double when it comes to airlines and in-flight WiFi. The latest announcement for onboard connectivity comes from both Air France and KLM, SkyTeam Alliance partners who plan to bring WiFi to their long-haul fleet as early as February 2013.

Naturally that date, which is little more than 7 months away, will mark the start of trials of Panasonic's technology onboard two Boeing 777-300s. Taking the tech fleet-wide is still a ways off, but at least you'll be able to be one of the first to try it, assuming you pay attention to the plane you're flying to Paris or Amsterdam. Look for one of these atop your airplane.

As with other airlines' in-flight WiFi, there will be a fee. Of it, Air France and KLM only say: "During this period, travellers will be able to hook up to the internet via their Wi-Fi enabled smartphone, laptop or tablet PC at a fixed rate, as well as use their mobile phone for sms or e-mail, whatever their travel class." At least for travelers who only want to google the latest news, that basic information will be free via a portal website which may also include "TV channels relevant to the airline and destination information and a unique offer of online magazines."

So far, so good. The only issue we see is getting those 777s outfitted with power outlets at every seat, because there's nothing more frustrating than paying for a flight-long service only to have your laptop/smartphone/e-reader lose battery halfway over the ocean.

[Photo: KLM]

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