Elon Musk’s satellite Internet company is pushing to offer wireless Internet aboard airplanes. Delta Air Lines is the first major carrier that has reportedly tested the service.
It is not known how the tests were conducted or when Starlink will be available on Delta passenger aircraft.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian has declined to provide more specific details about the tests, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, the company has in the past advocated for increased access to low-cost, high-quality Wi-Fi on planes.
Musk said in October that he was “talking to airlines about installing Starlink” and that the service will offer “low latency” and “half a gigabit of bandwidth in the air.”
The billionaire also stated that SpaceX hoped to have Starlink licensed for use on Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 planes since they “serve the most number of people.”
According to Starlink, users can expect download speeds of 100 to 200 Mb/s and latency of just 20 milliseconds in most locations.
While the “Federal Communications Commission has approved SpaceX to test Starlink for aircraft use, the Journal reported, the Federal Aviation Administration must still certify satellite-internet equipment installed on commercial aircraft,” reported T+L.
Analysts predict growing demand for Wi-Fi on planes, although some passengers have complained about reception and speed over the years.
The number of connected planes might more than double by the end of the decade, according to Euroconsult, a satellite industry consulting organization.
Delta’s CEO, has publicly criticized the internet service offered on many flights and has long advocated for fast and free in-flight internet.
Delta has worked hard to establish itself as a high-end service for business travelers who expect to be able to connect anywhere.
At a conference last month, Jonathan Hofeller, a vice president focused on commercial sales at Starlink, stated that inflight Internet is due for an overhaul.
“The expectation has changed faster than the technology,” Mr. Hofeller said, adding Starlink had 250,000 subscribers, including consumers and enterprise clients.