Hawaiian Airlines has become the world’s first major airline to introduce SpaceX’s Starlink internet to its fleet, giving passengers super-fast, low-latency internet connectivity, revolutionizing the in-flight experience with speeds that rival those of ground-based services.
Starlink made its debut aboard an Airbus A321neo on a Honolulu-Long Beach flight on February 8, 2024, opening up the possibility for passengers to enjoy streaming, gaming, and other high-bandwidth activities seamlessly while flying over the Pacific.
The in-flight service is completely free for passengers, eliminating the hassle of registration pages or payment portals. Hawaiian Airlines plans to extend the service across its long-haul fleet, including Airbus A321neo aircraft, A330s, and the upcoming Boeing 787-9 flagship aircraft, throughout the year.
The introduction of Starlink internet comes after delays and extensive testing, including special charter flights for Hawaiian Airlines employees, to ensure the service meets high performance and reliability standards. The company recently revealed it had received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to install Starlink on its A321 aircraft. In response to a Drive Tesla article, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk commented that the Starlink team was “working hard to ensure an amazing internet connectivity experience” that would “feel [like] you’re on the ground, not even in an airplane.”
Hawaiian Airlines may be the first airline to deploy Starlink, but they certainly won’t be the last. Other airlines, such as Air New Zealand and Qatar Airways, have announced plans to adopt high-speed internet services, indicating a growing industry focus on enhancing passenger connectivity.
🥁 Drumroll, please… the rollout of Starlink internet service on our A321 aircraft has commenced. As we work quickly to install high-speed Wi-Fi across our A321 fleet, guests can begin to enjoy free, fast internet on select transpacific flights. ✨ https://t.co/SQ6AaC3rCi. pic.twitter.com/fDZZUSGdsx— Hawaiian Airlines (@HawaiianAir) February 9, 2024