Two Hawaii-centric travel companies are breathing easier today, now that they can proceed as the launch customers for the most touted WiFi service on the planet. The FCC’s authorization on Thursday means that airlines, ships and trucks can now officially move forward in being equipped with the new satellite-based service.
Starlink by SpaceX, is Hawaii aficionado Elon Musk’s new network of internet satellites in orbit, numbering close to 3,000. The company will serve the airlines, shipping, trucking and automotive industries. They also serve residential and business customers.
The FCC said, “Authorizing a new class of terminals for SpaceX’s satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing user demands that now require connectivity while on the move.
When we first wrote about Hawaiian Air’s Starlink, we said that Starlink courted Hawaiian Airlines as its launch airline partner. They have also inked a deal with jet service provider JSX as well as with Hawaii cruise line Royal Caribbean.
What will this be like for Hawaiian Airlines customers?
Starink’s Jonathon Hofeller said, “We’re obsessive about the passenger experience. We’re going to be on planes here very shortly, so hopefully passengers are wowed by the experience.”
Billionaire Tesla founder and entrepreneur Musk is going to take the car manufacturer’s fame and popularity to Hawaii.
Starlink has over 2k satellites in orbit and provides service to 32 countries.
Controversy about Starlink satellites.
Scientists are concerned about the massive network of satellites harming night sky’s visibility.
Starlink is a constellation of orbital satellites. A network which began in 2015. Plans are to have at least 10,000 satellites in orbit in the future, and they’ve indicated they may even want multiple times that many.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has already deployed Starlink and so far its anything but free.
The Freedom of the Seas has been equipped with Starlink satellite dishes, and the cruise line has been testing the service on those who are traveling. That particular ship doesn’t have a Hawaii itinerary, but instead voyages between Miami and The Bahamas. For their 9–11 day Hawaii cruises, Royal Caribbean primary uses Radiance of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas and Enhantment of the Seas ships. To our knowledge, those have not yet been Starlink-equipped.
Currently, their Voom WiFi service is priced starting at $12.99 per day, but we expect pressure to drive it down to free on cruise ships as has happened with the airlines.
Where Starlink Free WiFi fits into Hawaiian Airlines’ plans.
The airline will be the last of those companies flying to Hawaii to add WiFi. Many travelers, including your editors, have noted that absence. But when they finally do go live on Starlink next year, we’re expecting it to be pretty exciting since it’ll be both free and fast. How fast? Hawaiian has said merely that it’ll be “very impressive.” Starlink says that users can expect to see download speeds from 100 Mb/s to 200 Mb/s.
See a complete summary of WiFi on flights to Hawaii.
Hawaiian’s WiFi will be installed on all of its existing 42 Airbus A330 and A321neos.
It’ll also be found onboard its upcoming Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet due to start arriving as soon as Boeing’s manufacturing problems get resolved.
The free price is likely to put pressure on other airlines to also offer free WiFi.
Interisland flights won’t receive any WiFI for now.
Only the Boeing 717 interisland fleet won’t receive WiFi at this time. It could be added later or will definitely come when the airline deploys its next interisland fleet, the announcement of which should occur within the next 1–2 years.