First Major Airline Announces Free Starlink WiFi On Its Flights

by SharonKurheg

Elon Musk has had a lot to crow about this week. He bought Twitter the other day, and now the first major U.S. airline has decided to use Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite internet system, to supply its in-flight WiFi.

Hawaiian Airlines announced the partnership on Monday. The airline will provide FREE high-speed, low latency wireless internet for passengers (always gotta love free WiFi, right?).

“When we launch with Starlink we will have the best connectivity experience available in the air,” says Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram.

The deal comes on the heels of semi-private jet service JSX signing on for Starlink terminals to be equipped on 100 of their planes by the end of this year.

The Hawaiian Airlines deal will give passengers access to in-flight broadband with download rates from 50Mbps to 150Mbps or higher, which is much faster than current in-flight internet speeds.

“We waited until technology caught up with our high standards for guest experience, but it will be worth the wait. Our guests can look forward to fast, seamless and free WiFi to complement our award-winning onboard Hawaiian hospitality,” Ingram added.

The high-speed internet will be available to guests onboard flights between the Hawaiian Islands and the continental U.S, Asia and Oceania, but not for inter-island service.

The airline and internet provider are in the initial stages of implementing the system. They expect to begin installing the product on select aircraft next year.

Hawaiian Airlines will be only the second U.S.-based airline that offers full WiFi service for free. JetBlue has offered the service since 2017. Delta, Alaska and Southwest offer free messaging service in certain apps, but not full-scale WiFi. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in 2018 that his long-term vision was to provide free full-scale WiFi on his airline, but I guess 3.5 years isn’t long enough – it still costs ;-).

Feature Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Leroy Kelley April 26, 2022 - 12:21 pm

So is the bandwidth per person or per plane ?

John B April 26, 2022 - 2:07 pm

There may be multiple reasons for specifically Hawaiian getting behind this. In many areas of the islands, especially rural areas, access to high speed internet is limited. There are a few satellite internet companies already whos products are not very good in terms of speed/bandwith. In addition almost all of the internet in the state is dependent upon a transpacific cable that has been at risk to disruption numerous times (including a very recent suspected Russian malware attack thwarted by the FBI).

I cant help but think if companies like this can get behind the Starlink concept and help it to develop, it would be a step towards more equitable high speed internet for rural and other “fringe” communities.


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