Hawaiian Airlines is the first major carrier to sign with Elon Musk’s Starlink program to provide Wi-Fi service across its fleet of transpacific aircraft.
The airline will outfit its fleet of Airbus A321neos, A330s and upcoming Boeing 787s with Starlink’s transceivers with plans to offer complimentary, high speed Wi-Fi from 2023. Unfortunately its fleet of Boeing 717s won’t receive the same treatment as most of those flights are well under 50 minutes long, and it really doesn’t really make sense to implement such expensive technology for short hops. Once guests are on board, they can simply connect to the network and use it without having to register for the service or go through any payment portals.
“When we launch with Starlink we will have the best connectivity experience available in the air,” said Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram. “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 Wi-Fi to complement our award-winning onboard Hawaiian hospitality.”
Hawaiian is technically the first major carrier to sign on with Starlink, but JSX, a smaller charter airline operating out of the U.S. west coast beat them to the punch, being the very first airline with firm plans to use the service. Delta Air Lines has also been conducting trials, but has not detailed if/when they plan to go full scale with the new Wi-Fi alternative.
One of Starlink’s advantages is have a mesh of satellites orbit Earth in low orbit, providing high speeds with lower latency. The speeds may not be as good as those tested with stationary targets (i.e. in your home), but the internet provider is still promising the ability to stream videos, play games live with friends on the ground, work and collaborate in real-time. Of course we will see what happens when it actually comes into service.
[Featured Photo: Hawaiian Airlines]