May 27, 2024

News and Political Commentary

Hawaiian Airlines debuts SpaceX Starlink free inflight Wi-Fi

2 min read

A Hawaiian Airlines A321 aircraft with Starlink WiFi installed.

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines is rolling out complimentary Wi-Fi via SpaceX’s Starlink on board commercial flights this week, the companies told CNBC, the first major U.S. airline to offer the satellite-based service.

“SpaceX has really cracked the code – literally, in terms of the technology – to be able to deliver a wide bandwidth of very high quality connectivity to an airplane with a global reach,” Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines CEO, told CNBC.

Hawaiian’s plan for complimentary Wi-Fi comes as airlines ramp up their offerings for high-speed connectivity. JetBlue Airways offers Wi-Fi on board for free, and last year Delta Air Lines launched onboard internet free of charge for members of its loyalty program, after years of planning.

Hawaiian has an extensive network of flights over the Pacific Ocean, serving the mainland U.S., Japan, Australia and New Zealand, among other destinations, from Hawaii.

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“It really feels like an experience that should not be possible when you get on a commercial airline flight. And you’re able to connect to the internet and experience it in a way that’s similar, if not better, than what you can experience in your own home,” Chad Gibbs, SpaceX’s vice president of Starlink business operations, told CNBC.

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

Hawaiian signed an agreement with SpaceX in April 2022, looking to utilize the Starlink network – which consists of more than 5,000 satellites in low Earth orbit and boasts more than 2.3 million customers worldwide. The airline didn’t previously offer inflight Wi-Fi.

A Starlink terminal installed on a Hawaiian Airlines aircraft.

Hawaiian Airlines

The companies did not disclose the deal’s value or how much it costs to install each of the…

2024-02-08 16:49:31

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