Hawaiian Airlines A330s are getting fast free Starlink WiFi

All 24 of the workhorse jets are next in line for blazingly fast Internet.

By David Flynn, May 23 2024
Hawaiian Airlines A330s are getting fast free Starlink WiFi

Hawaiian Airlines will begin adding free WiFi to its Airbus A330 jets in the coming months, and it’s likely to be the fastest inflight Internet you’ll ever experience.

The US carrier has already connected all 18 of its singe-aisle A321neo aircraft to the innovative Starlink satellite network developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, with passengers reporting download speeds from 100Mbps to as high as 300Mbps.

And with thousands of ‘micro-satellites’ hovering in low Earth orbit, the Starlink constellation even offers low latency of around 50ms which even makes online gaming possible.

“I’m not a big gamer, but I’ve played first-person shooter games on the plane” shares Avi Mannis, Hawaiian Airlines’ Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “One of the real advantages of these low Earth orbit satellites is the latency.”

“And it’s certainly suitable for streaming, the whole aircraft can be streaming and nobody’s going to see lag.”

Mannis tells Executive Traveller that Hawaiian Airlines’ first Starlink-equipped A330 will debut in the northern summer, “in June, July or August.”

After that initial A330 is certified – “and because we’re the first airline to be deploying Starlink, we get to go through the certification process first” – the rest of the 24-strong fleet will be upgraded at pace.

“It’s a pretty quick installation as these things go, it’s just a couple of days to do. We certified our first A321 at the beginning of the year and we had all 18 done within a couple of months.”

That puts Hawaiian on track to be serving up super-fast WiFi across Australia and the US by year’s end.

"Obviously it’ll roll out one aircraft at a time, but I think that will be a really exciting addition to our product offering, particularly over those long flights over the Pacific.”

The Internet connection will be available on a ‘gate-to-gate’ basis, just like inflight entertainment.

Hawaiian’s Boeing 787s are also in line for the Starlink tech, of course. Mannis says the airline’s third Dreamliner will arrive later this year, with “a couple more coming next year and a couple more the year after” until all 12 are delivered.

And it’ll remain free for all passengers from tip to tail, promises Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram.

“We figured since we were later to the party of providing internet connection on our planes... that we would just jump to offering the very very best and offering if it complimentary, and letting the rest of the market try to catch up to us.”

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