Hawaiian Airlines will partner with SpaceX’s Starlink satellite service to provide free WiFi to all of its transoceanic flyers, including travelers journeying from the islands to the continental U.S., Asia and the Oceania region.
System installations are expected to begin next year, Hawaiian said, with the connectivity to be offered on Hawaiian’s Airbus A330, A321 and Boeing 787-9 aircraft. The carrier doesn’t plan to install WiFi on its fleet of Boeing 717 planes, which it uses for inter-island service.
The move will be a big one for Hawaiian, which currently doesn’t offer WiFi on any aircraft, making it a laggard by the standards of full-service U.S. and international carriers.
“When we launch with Starlink, we will have the best connectivity experience available in the air,” Hawaiian CEO Peter Ingram said in a statement Monday. “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 the second U.S. mainline carrier to announce that it will offer free WiFi across much of its network, joining JetBlue, which has long provided the service.
Delta has publicly contemplated providing free WiFi. The carrier trialed the concept on 55 domestic flights for two weeks in 2019. Recently, Delta has been conducting exploratory tests with Starlink, CEO Ed Bastian told the Wall Street Journal.
The Starlink network of small, low-earth satellites will enable high-speed, low-latency WiFi on Hawaiian, the airline said, enabling customers to connect seamlessly when they walk aboard a plane, without the use of registration pages.
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