Updated as of October 2019. We have been expecting Hawaiian Airlines to announce satellite based Wi-Fi soon. The company indicated four years ago, in 2015, that they were evaluating the criteria of good economics, strong Pacific Ocean performance and adequacy of bandwidth.
Hawaii Airlines is the last person standing at this point. This week, CEO Peter Ingram spoke to their missing Wi-Fi. He said, “I think we are obviously a bit of a late adopter to Wi-Fi as we having not adopted it yet…. The satellite technology for over water service, particularly over the Pacific is even today quite spotty. And I think there were some providers that have better coverage over the Pacific than others. We are continuing to evaluate what the options are.”
Beat of Hawaii’s take, however, is that trans-Pacific satellite Wi-Fi works adequately based on our own experience. We have used it on both Delta Airlines and on Alaska Airlines to and from Hawaii. While it was far from perfect, that’s also true with airline terrestrial Wi-Fi service over the US. We were just very happy to have it, since it was great for trip planning completion and for arriving ready for vacation, with encumbant last minute matters done before arrival.
In 2018, Alaska Airlines announced it would bring satellite based WiFi to flights to Hawaii. Alaska said at that time, “…experience high-speed, more reliable, and streaming-friendly Wi-Fi on all our planes to all destinations, including Hawai’i….” In the past week, we were able to experience it ourselves for the first time (since it is not on all aircraft yet), and we can attest to it working. Also, text messaging was free.
How do you feel about WiFi on Hawaii Flights?
We weren’t sure how we’d feel about Wi-Fi to Hawaii, as in many ways we’d always looked forward to five hours to sleep, read or do something other than remaining perennially connected. And on the other hand, sometimes those five hours are a great way to close up shop before hitting the islands or returning to the mainland.
While you ponder that, on to whether and when WiFi will be available on your Hawaii flights, and if so, at what cost?
Update from Hawaiian Air | WiFi on Hawaii Flights
We spent a significant amount of time checking with the airlines as well as with the service providers themselves. It is still challenging to find information specifically about WiFi on flights to Hawaii. Here’s what we know for now. If you have any further updates from your Hawaii flights, please let us know in the comments below.
1. Hawaiian Airlines. Does not currently offer WiFi on flights to Hawaii. No further updates have been announced other than what is indicated herein, as of October 2019.
3. Alaska Airlines. The company said they were rolling out satellite Wi-Fi starting in fall 2018, with about a two year plan before completion. Alaska indicated that as of last month, 62 of their 241 aircraft have been outfitted. They have quite a ways to go, although their website says it will be completed by 2020. We do not have any cost update on Alaska’s new satellite WiFi service. We paid $16 for an all-day pass which was pre-purchased from GoGo last week. On the other hand, recently we were charged $40 for an all-day pass when bought directly on a flight starting at Newark.
4. American Airlines. Offers satellite based WiFi but we were unable to confirm specifics on availability for flights to/from Hawaii. It appears to be available only on certain aircraft and their prior link to which aircraft are enabled did not work. Cost ranges from $10 for two hours to $19 for the full flight. WiFi is currently available on 80% of their fleet. Speed is 10mbps.
5. Delta Airlines. Delta has aggressively rolled out satellite based Wifi across its fleet. That includes flights to Hawaii. They are the first to complete a large fleet roll-out. The cost of a Delta global day pass covering trans-oceanic flights is $28. Speed is 15mbps.
6. Southwest Airlines. Southwest offers Wi-Fi on all flights including those to and from Hawaii. The cost is $8 for the entire flight. We haven’t used it yet, so let us know if you have.
7. United Airlines. The company indicates on their WiFi page that the price will vary and that over water satellite service is available on select aircraft. We do know that at least some of their flights to Hawaii offer WiFi. WiFi currently is offered on 85% of their fleet. Speed is 10mbps.
Are you ready to pay $8 to $28 for Wi-Fi on Hawaii Flights?
Please let us know your thoughts and read others comments on Hawaii flights WiFi below.