SpaceX and Hawaiian Airlines Partner for Starlink In-Flight Free Wi-Fi

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/Shutterstock (11770494i)In this photo illustration a Starlink logo of a satellite internet constellation being constructed by SpaceX is seen on a smartphone and a pc screen,Logos displayed on a smartphone in Ukraine - 21 Feb 2021.
Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/Shutterstock / Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

Starlink–Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s satellite internet service–will provide complimentary high-speed, low-latency broadband internet access to every guest onboard Hawaiian Airlines flights between the islands and the continental U.S, Asia and Oceania.

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The airline said it will equip its Airbus A330 and A321neo aircraft, as well as an incoming fleet of Boeing 787-9s, with Starlink’s satellite internet connectivity service, according to a press release.

“Hawaiian Airlines is ensuring its passengers will experience high-speed internet the way we expect it in the 21st century, making hassles like downloading movies before takeoff a relic of the past,” SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales Jonathan Hofeller, said in the release. “With Starlink, the inflight experience is greatly simplified so that once passengers step onboard the plane the internet works seamlessly throughout their flight. Soon, passengers will enjoy all the benefits of having the world’s best inflight internet connectivity from the comfort of their seats.”

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Starlink internet works by sending information through, “the vacuum of space, where it travels much faster than in fiber-optic cable and can reach far more people and places,” according to the company’s website.

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While most satellite internet services today come from single geostationary satellites that orbit the planet at about 35,000km, Starlink is a constellation of multiple satellites that orbit the planet much closer to Earth, at about 340 miles and cover the entire globe, according to the website.

Hawaiian Airlines said in the press release that thanks to Starlink’s low-Earth-orbit constellation of advanced satellites, the latest of which utilize a revolutionary laser mesh network, passengers will be able to stream content, and play games live with friends on the ground, work and collaborate in real-time. “Connecting to the internet will be seamless when guests walk onboard, without registration pages or payment portals,” the company said.

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CNBC reports that the airline’s plan for complimentary connectivity with Starlink could increase pressure on rivals to offer free Wi-Fi for travelers, something currently available on JetBlue Airways.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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