Hawaiian Airlines has signed an agreement with Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite company to deliver inflight WiFi on its fleet of Airbus A330 and A321neo planes, as well as Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
Once installed across the fleet, Hawaiian stated it will provide the high-speed, low-latency broadband connection for free.
The Starlink system, which is a part of Musk’s SpaceX initiative, promises high-speed broadband connectivity via a ‘constellation’ of over 2,000 satellites in low Earth orbit.
Starlink was created particularly to deliver broadband connectivity to remote areas with inadequate internet connection.
“When we launch with Starlink we will have the best connectivity experience available in the air,” boasted Hawaiian Airlines chief executive Peter Ingram on Monday. “We waited until technology caught up with our high standards for the guest experience, but it will be worth the wait,” Ingram continued.
Starlink and Hawaiian Airlines are so confident in the technology that they plan to provide free streaming quality inflight internet connectivity to every single passenger.
To free up bandwidth and cut expenses, other airlines limit free in-flight internet access to select messaging apps or impose data limitations on passengers.
“With Starlink, the inflight experience is greatly simplified so that once passengers step on board the plane the internet works seamlessly throughout their flight,” commented SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales Jonathan Hofeller.
Hawaiian Airlines is the first airline to sign up for the Starlink service, but it is in talks with other airlines, including Delta, to gain market share from incumbents Panasonic and Viasat.
In addition to being able to stream movies and shows to their devices, Hawaiian promises that the service would be so quick that passengers will be able to play video games in real-time with their pals on the ground.
The Starlink service will be put to the test on Hawaiian’s long-haul route network across the Pacific.
Hawaiian Airlines has no plans to put inflight connectivity on its Boeing 717 aircraft, which are utilized for short flights between Hawaii’s islands.