Hawaiian Airlines debuts high-speed Starlink internet on select flights
Hawaiian on Thursday became the world’s first major carrier to deploy Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency broadband internet. The service debuted onboard an Airbus A321neo flight from Honolulu to Long Beach, Calif.
It allows customers to stay connected while in flight, using their home internet with Starlink’s advanced internet technology.
The carrier’s Wi-Fi is complimentary and available upon stepping onboard the aircraft. The service comes “without tedious registration pages and clunky payment portals,” according to the airline.
The service is rolling out on select A321neo aircraft as they are activated over the coming months.
“In marrying this best-in-class technology with our authentic Hawaiian hospitality, we are offering our guests a travel experience unlike any other airline flying to and from the Hawaiian Islands,” said Chris Liebertz, senior director of engineering at Hawaiian Airlines.
A Test of Strength
The speed of Hawaiian’s new in-flight internet service allows streaming, gaming and other connected experiences often enjoyed at home – even while traversing \ the Pacific Ocean.
“Starlink’s self-designed aviation terminal installed on Hawaiian’s aircraft allows each plane to receive strong, fast internet signals from the satellites orbiting above Earth,” said Will Seidel, director of Starlink engineering at SpaceX. “The terminal will seamlessly switch connections from satellite to satellite as planes cross the Pacific, providing an uninterrupted internet experience for passengers.”
To ensure high performance, Hawaiian and Starlink conducted tests, including live flights to evaluate connectivity under different conditions and identify opportunities to improve user experience.
“During these tests, employees streamed shows and movies, played video games with friends, downloaded and uploaded large files, worked in real time, and scrolled on social media,” Liebertz said. Each assessment then allowed the company to fine-tune service.
Rolling Out the Service
Before the public launch, Hawaiian and Starlink worked alongside the FAA to verify that the aviation terminal (antenna) met strict safety standards, according to Seidel.
“When we finished our tests on the ground and in-flight on the first A321neo, the FAA certified Starlink for use on the rest of Hawaiian’s A321neo fleet – as well as any other A321neo,” he said.
Hawaiian is working with Starlink to roll out the technology across its long-haul fleet. The carrier expects to install and activate antennas on all its 18 A321neo aircraft by spring, followed by its A330s by the end of the year, and later its new flagship aircraft, the Boeing 787-9.
“Today marks a huge milestone not just for my team but for both companies,” said Liebertz. “I’m looking forward to my next flight so I can join our guests in experiencing how game-changing this technology will be for aviation.”