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Air France and KLM launch Wi-Fi by-the-hour or flight — and it isn’t cheap

@denschaal

May 29, 2013 8:14 am

Skift Take

Let’s see: Paying for Wi-Fi and a couple of drinks on an Air France-KLM flight. The tab may soon approach the cost of a Ryanair ticket.

— Dennis Schaal

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Air France and KLM made good on a promise made last Summer and began a pilot program of onboard, satellite-based Wi-Fi on long-haul flights, charging by the hour or full flight.

The service, from Panasonic Avionics, is costly. The charge is EUR 10.95 ($14.18) per hour or EUR 19.95 ($25.84) for the entire flight regardless of class of service.

In contrast, Delta charges about $14 for a Wi-Fi day pass, although the service from Gogo is of the air-to-ground variety. And, according to a Flyertalk post, United was recently charging $14.99 for basic satellite service and $22.99 for premium service onboard a Honolulu-Tokyo flight.

The Air France-KLM trial, which will run through 2013, kicked off today with an Air France flight to New York, and a KLM flight to Panama on Boeing 777-300 aircraft.

In contrast to the practices of some airlines, Air France-KLM initially, at least, will be charging flat rates for the service, and won’t be using variable pricing based on flight length, time of day and demand, for instance.

Passengers will have access to an inflight website offering live television, sports programming, news channels, destination information, and airline updates, the airlines say.

Here’s a KLM video showing more than you ever wanted to know about the installation of onboard Wi-Fi:

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