Another U.S. Airline Launches Free In-flight Wi-Fi By Starlink

Hawaiian Airlines Launches Free In-flight Wi-Fi By Starlink

Hawaiian Airlines, the first significant U.S. carrier to provide the satellite-based system on board commercial flights, is transforming the in-flight experience with the launch of free Wi-Fi services powered by SpaceX’s Starlink.

This action represents a major step forward in the airline industry’s efforts to give customers high-speed connectivity while they are in flight. Free Wi-Fi is currently available on board JetBlue Airways, and last year Delta Air Lines gave its loyalty program members free internet access.

The airline has a vast network of routes that cross the Pacific Ocean, linking mainland and Hawaiian cities with international locations like Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. With the recent installation of Wi-Fi powered by Starlink, travelers will be able to take advantage of improved in-flight amenities.

It truly seems like something that shouldn’t be conceivable when boarding a commercial aircraft, said Vice President of Starlink Business Operations at SpaceX Chad Gibbs.

“We now have a different paradigm, which is that we have incredible amounts of capacity and bandwidth that we can bring to the plane,” he added.

Hawaiian and SpaceX first collaborated after the latter signed an agreement in April 2022. Before that, Hawaiian did not provide any in-flight Wi-Fi. The idea was to use the Starlink network, which consists of over 5,000 low-Earth orbiting satellites and currently serves over 2.3 million people worldwide with internet access, to provide dependable in-flight Wi-Fi. 

Although the deal’s value and the cost of installing aviation-specific Starlink terminals on Hawaiian Airlines’ fleet of aircraft have not been made public by either company, they did point out that the costs have decreased from those of the early Wi-Fi systems.

Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram underlined the potentially revolutionary effect of providing Starlink-powered Wi-Fi on flights, saying, “we think it is really going to set an entirely new standard for connectivity on airplanes.”

What It’s Like Using SpaceX’s Broadband for Inflight Wi-Fi?

JSX introduced free Starlink Wi-Fi, becoming the first U.S. air carrier to offer SpaceX’s high-speed internet on flights and tested it.

A test flight demonstrated the service’s impressive performance, offering speeds comparable to 4G and 5G, with significant improvements in connectivity.

Speed tests showed an average download speed of 126Mbps. The service, which operates via SpaceX’s low-orbit satellite constellation, promises a seamless experience for passengers, marking a significant upgrade from traditional geostationary satellite Wi-Fi systems. This advancement indicates a promising future for in-flight internet services.