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Wi-Fi Blues Strike Hawaii Flights On All Airlines

It seems like the wait for reliable WiFi on flights to Hawaii will never end. And many of us have been waiting for years now for Hawaiian Airlines Wifi. On that subject, we have an exclusive update below from Hawaiian.

Beyond that, we have flown many Hawaii flights trans-Pacific recently on Delta, Hawaiian, Alaska, and Southwest, and we can report on those experiences, which were interesting at best.

Our feeling is that if an airline promises WiFi, it better deliver to meet passenger expectations, especially on long-haul flights across the Pacific. WiFi has become like electricity or other utilities. It is a fundamental component of the implied carriage agreement between airlines and passengers when offered.

Hawaii flights with WiFi | Review by airline

We spent significant time checking with the airlines and service providers and used our own experiences. Finding information specifically about WiFi on flights to Hawaii is still challenging. Here’s what we know for now. If you have any further updates based on your flights, please tell us in the comments.

1. Alaska Airlines’ $8 WiFi | Hawaii flights.

Last year, Alaska Airlines announced a flat rate of $8 per segment for internet service, including flights to and from Hawaii. At the time, Alaska said, “Our flat rate satellite WiFi and expanded entertainment selections are additions our guests will love.”

They also promised that their WiFi would be 50% faster than before and be available from the time of passenger boarding throughout the entire flight. The company offers free texting as well.

Alaska Airlines Wifi Blues: No WiFi was offered on our last two Hawaii flights. 

2. American Airlines Paid WiFi | Hawaii flights.

American Airlines says it has satellite-based WiFi on most flights to Hawaii. Costs range from $10 for two hours to $19 for the entire flight.

Beat of Hawaii: We haven’t flown American for some time and appreciate any input on their WiFi cost and functionality to Hawaii.

American Airlines’ WiFi blues: The cost isn’t competitive. 

3. Delta Airlines Free WiFi | Hawaii flights.

Delta aggressively rolled out satellite-based WiFi across its domestic fleet earlier this year. That included flights to Hawaii. They were the first to complete such a large fleet roll-out. The cost of WiFi on flights went from $28 previously to free, so long as you are a SkyMiles member.

Beat of Hawaii editors were onboard a brand new (5-month-old) Delta A321neo last week and ready to work and report on their WiFi. The highly gracious flight attendant was sad to say that the new planes do not have WiFi to and from Hawaii.We found that hard to believe in multiple ways. First, Delta has been touting this as domestic fleet-wide satellite WiFi. Second, this plane has only been in its livery since the winter.

But alas, the flight attendant was correct, and soon after crossing into the Pacific, the WiFi and texting were gone—bummer, especially when they claim that it works. We were told that it is only their A321neo fleet that the WiFi is not functional trans-Pacific. We’ve flown other Delta aircraft previously that featured brilliant WiFi, which made this even more of a surprise.

Delta Airlines’ WiFi blues: They just rolled out a new Hawaii A321neo fleet, and there is no WiFi so far.

4. Hawaiian Airlines Free WiFi | Hawaii Flights.

We have been waiting for Hawaiian Airlines WiFi to become available for many years. That is still pending, and now we know exactly where it stands (read our exclusive update below). By way of history, Hawaiian Airlines said some eight years ago, in 2015, the company was determining the logistics and economics of WiFi for their flights.

But while they contemplated WiFi, the other carriers all leapfrogged them with it, and Hawaiian is the last airline with no WiFi.

Hawaiian Airlines is poised to launch Starlink satellite WiFi very soon. Last year Hawaiian’s WiFi was first tested, and it delivered YouTube, Netflix, and video chat capabilities, among other things, even over the Pacific Ocean. Starlink provides WiFi via a series of low-altitude, small satellites.

Hawaiian Airlines has indicated that the WiFi will be free for passengers in all cabins at no charge, including their 189-seat A321 planes, 278-seat A330 planes, and eventually, on their new 300-seat Dreamliner planes. There is, however, no plan to bring WiFi to Hawaiian’s interisland fleet.

Hawaiian Airlines Exclusive WiFi Update.

Last week, we spoke with Avi Mannis, Hawaiian’s senior vice president – chief marketing and communications officer. Avi said that their StarLink WiFi is currently being certified and alluded to that being a complicated process. Perhaps too, because Hawaiian is the launch partner for the new service. Avi told us it will not be available until sometime in 2024. Previously we were told it would be 2023. He also said the new Hawaiian Airlines Dreamliners would not be the first to receive WiFi. The reason is that they cannot be fitted with the WiFi equipment at the factory. So that will occur in the field following delivery.

Hawaiian Airlines’ WiFi blues: It just isn’t going to be available until 2024.

5. Southwest Airlines $8 WiFi | Hawaii Flights.

Southwest offers WiFi on all flights, including those to and from Hawaii. The cost is $8 for the entire flight.

Beat of Hawaii: We flew with Southwest recently, and the WiFi was so intermittent as to be largely not functional. The company offered to refund the $8. 

Southwest WiFi blues: It’s mostly great when it works. We haven’t had great luck, but we’ll be trying it again next week.

6. United Airlines $8 WiFi | Hawaii Flights.

United Airlines says on its WiFi page that the price is now $8/flight when available. Previously UAL had some of the most expensive WiFi on flights in the US. United says it is only available on specific aircraft flying to and from Hawaii. That includes select Boeing 757, 767, 777  and 787. Please let us know your experience with WiFi on United flights to Hawaii. We will be trying it ourselves soon.

United Airlines’ WiFi blues: It isn’t available across the entire fleet. We’re flying their 737 aircraft this summer, and it doesn’t appear to be WiFi equipped.


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15 thoughts on “Wi-Fi Blues Strike Hawaii Flights On All Airlines”

  1. Flew United to Chicago and back in August and September on a 787. Checked the numbers on the plane to know we were flying different equipment. Paid the $19 wifi fee both ways and as soon as we left the islands and the mainland the wifi said goodbye. Not even intermittent, but Zero coverage over the Pacific. They refunded the money, but it irks me that they even advertised it as if it was trans-Pacific.

    Can we get some honesty here?

  2. I’ve flown Alaska monthly between SFO and HNLfor the past 2 years and only once was it not available. If you have Tmobile, you get one hour free wifi and text. In addition, if you have a Tmobile Max plan, you get unlimited wifi and text free.


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