Your next flight might have in-flight WiFi powered by Starlink satellites. Both semi-private regional carrier JSX and Hawaiian Air are rolling out free, Starlink connectivity for all their passengers.
JSX’s first flights equipped with Starlink internet are scheduled for later this year. It plans to outfit 100 jets to start with.
Hawaiian Air will be operating Starlink-equipped airliners next year. It will be trans-Pacific flights only, with the smaller Boeing 717 planes that operate inter-island not getting the service.
Delta Air Lines is also testing Starlink out, but currently, the company has no firm plans for an announcement or timeframe for the new service.
Because Starlink’s satellites are linked, data can travel through the vacuum of space. That makes it faster than fiber optic cables. It also means less latency than other satellite-based systems, perfect for better in-flight internet.
SpaceX has been asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve Starlink on commercial aircraft and shipping vessels for in-flight WiFi use. The FCC has approved testing only at this time. Any agreement with the airlines is pending regulatory approvals.
There are some 2,000 Starlink satellites in near-Earth orbit. Not everyone likes the fact they’re up there. China said that the satellites nearly collided with its space station twice in 2021.