Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I know it's old news now but I'm really bummed that Boeing is shutting down its Connexion online wifi service. At $30 for the full flight on a long haul flight, it was not a bad price. I always used it on the Tokyo-Frankfurt LH flights. I thought it was going to change air travel for me forever. Now it's going away. I guess when something doesn't pay, it can't really exist yet... but I can't help feeling like we're going backwards with this. :-(


I didn't even had the chance to live it. I was just waiting to take a flight that could let me experience it or wait till Aeromexico offered the service. Now, as you said, we're going backwards.

It has been a lifesaver for me - I make at least 3..4 trips a year to the USA and canada, and a couple more to Europe. Conexion was the main reason I stuck to Lufthansa long enough to get a senator card (*gold / > 100k miles a year).

Air France and KLM have fairly regular flights too - quite competitively priced. And I just got me a Flying Blue platinum card by the simple expedient of mailing in my senator statement to KLM support and asking for a "status match" to platinum.

If conexion is indeed down, well, I'll probably start flying AF and KL more than I do LH. I have *G / senator status till 2010 anyway (or will have, once the trip to Canada I booked for october gets done).

Some news reports in Germany say that Lufthansa is trying to work out a deal to *maybe* continue offering the serive. Outcome not certain though.

I had the chance to use it going to Tokyo from Frankfurt (and back !) in june and I really loved it. Skype calls were even possible ! I did notice that I couldn't see anybody else using it in my cabin...

I on the other hand...didn't mind. I like that there's one place where no one can expect to reach me. I get more work done on airplanes than anywhere else. :)


Hi Joi-san, I just watched your TV program titled "Technopolis Tokyo". It was very interesting.
I'm looking forward to updates on your TV show.
Apology for not relating to the topic.

yeah... stupid decision. it seems they were thinking it's going to be a mass usage... but they forgot there's no power supply on the seats at Economy, and it's not easy to work on a computer, when the seat in front is fully leaned towards you...

I share your feeling, too bad Connexion will end. I can survive 12 hours without email or office vpn. But I will miss unlimited calls (skype) and live TV right from my plane seat via my Sling and LocationfFree boxes back at earth.
I hope in the future, airlines with some imagination will find a way to hide the $30 cost in the ticket price that typically ranges in the $1000s to be able to give "free" internet to passengers and a constant revenue stream to the operator to keep it alive.

I'm sure it will come back full force sooner or later. However, it does seem a bit ahead of its time. Like one of the commenters said, laptops and economy seats don't mix. It's hard enough reading a book when your meal comes.

Having used the (albeit patchy) WiFi service on trains in the South of England, I can vouch for the sentiment. We all know it is going to happen eventually, was this really about not making a profit? I'm not so sure...

I'm one of the techs involved in the LH implementation of the project and believe me, we are a little sad that Connexion is going away. I am, for sure. I see it the same way as you. I think the price is not the main reason why it was not accepted very widely. The bad battery life of most notebook - no power sockets in Eco - and the really limited space in Economy class (you can hardly open a normal notebook back there) are probably pretty big factors.

I do think that, as the Internet continues to assimilate all aspects of our civilization, and "offline time" becomes less acceptable, there will be a follow up product eventually.

Oh, and before anybody asks, no, I have no insider information to share on continuation of the service. I simply don't know at this time. I wouldn't bet money on it though.

Yes Lufthansa lost me now : )

No more Frakfurt Tokyo and Tokyo - Frankfurt.
Living in Stockholm, I just started to fly Finnair to Stockholm - Helsinki - Nagoya instead. Then I can at least enjoy the train ride with the Shinkansen to Tokyo - and the great spirit of Fuji-san.