The world is changing and so is the travel industry. Since the dawn of aviation, entertainment onboard has shifted from reading newspapers to watching on screen offline movies and TV shows. Long haul flights are especially mind numbing for the sheer lack of activities to do on board. In a world where the Internet is becoming more of a necessity than luxury, Hawaiian airlines have taken a major step to improve the in-flight experience for their customers.
The airlines announced this monday that they have made a deal with SpaceX’s Starlink to provide free Wi-Fi for all passengers on their major aircraft. The facility is expected to be available as early as 2023.
Starlink is a project by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX. The main goal of SpaceX is to cover all the earth’s surface with a high-speed and unlimited internet connection, powered by Low Earth Surface (LEO) satellites. Starlink recently made headlines after helping Ukraine stay online amid the ongoing invasion. The company with the help of USAID delivered 5,000 Starlink internet terminals to Ukraine.
According to reviews.org, The price for the services is expected to be around $110/mo while the equipment cost would be $599, but these are the commercial prices for a privately owned Starlink terminal, the service onboard Hawaiian Airlines aircraft will be paid by the company and provided for free. The arrangement should be able to provide download speed in the range of 50–250 Mbps. This may not look the fastest while compared to ground services but for something that flies above the altitude of 30,000 Ft, this service will be more than welcomed by bored passengers.
According to the CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, the integration was always on the cards.
We waited until technology caught up with our high standards for guest experience, but it will be worth the wait. Indeed the airline is considered one of the safest and best airlines, providing flights from most major cities in the continental US, especially those on the West CoastPeter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines CEO
The airline, which is the largest operator of commercial flights to and from the U.S. state of Hawaii and the tenth-largest commercial airline in the United States, becomes the first major airline in the world that inked a deal with an internet supplier for onboard free Wi-Fi.
In the 21st century, everything is about being online and connected to the whole world. It follows a global trend of connectedness and globalization, much known in today’s world.
The airline industry has always been lagging behind in the Wi-Fi implementation department. While the world got connected, the Internet became available even in the most remote places, and free connection became the norm in buses, trains, metros, and ships, the flights remained as that place where you had let everyone know you’re boarding and will be offline for the next couple of hours.
This will soon become a piece of history as the advent of cheap micro satellite technology is resurrecting the idea of getting internet connection from space.
This news comes in the wake of the lifting of the last covid restrictions for tourists in Hawaii last week, which will surely help bolster tourism in the post-pandemic world we are entering.
Although having this bit of good news, the airlines industry is currently struggling with a lack of qualified pilots which is leading to cancellation of many long-haul routes, including one airline canceling all of its flights to Hawaii for the summer season. This news will surely help the struggling airlines which posted $122.8 million first-quarter loss this year recover as it expects a much better second quarter.
It remains to see if Hawaiian airlines will have the labor necessary to not only keep the long routes going between continental United States and Hawaii, but also to handle the upcoming rise in demand that all of these measures are bringing to the island state.
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