Internet connectivity has become a basic necessity and no longer a luxury. This may present an issue to some of us when it comes to flying. You will often be disconnected from the internet during your time in the air. However, some airlines have started to offer in-flight Wi-Fi. But what about Hawaiian Airlines? Does Hawaiian Airlines have Wi-Fi?
Hawaiian Airlines will debut its high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi on all its transpacific flights beginning early 2023. The internet connection will be offered for free and be based on the planes connecting with satellites from SpaceX’s Starlink. As of now, users can only connect their device to the plane’s own Wi-Fi connection to stream content.
In this article, we discuss if Hawaiian Airlines offer Wi-Fi and the details, such as the speed and pricing of the service. We also explore in detail how in-flight Wi-Fi works and which other airline is offering in-flight Wi-Fi.
How Does In-Flight Wi-Fi Work?
In-flight internet connects the aircraft to a network of antennas and satellites. The antenna in the plane’s belly communicates with the signal towers when it is flying above ground and satellites in orbit while flying over open water. The plane turns into a hotspot, and devices can connect to the plane to access the internet.
In-flight Wi-Fi may sound like rocket science to you. Still, the concepts are similar to the basic internet connection, with a little twist.
In-flight Wi-Fi basically connects the plane to a set of antennas and satellites. The satellites are in space, while these antennas are on the ground. The plane connects to these antennas and satellites through a receiver under its body.
Depending on where the plane is, it may connect to the antennas or the satellites.
When the plane is on the ground, the receiver under its body will connect to the ground antenna. These antennas are different from the towers that usually send out cell phone signals. For the plans, they point up to the sky instead of down. As the plane moves, it stops talking to one tower and starts talking to the other.
This system works as long as the plane stays near a signal tower. The satellites take over at this point. To keep up with the internet connection, the plane will now connect to the satellites in space.
As the plane travels in the air, it will connect to the nearest tower or satellite. As a result, for a plane to offer in-flight Wi-Fi, it needs to ensure it can access a series of towers and satellites.
When the plan is connected, it turns into its own internet hotspot, which your devices can connect to and use to get online.
You may like this article: Does Spirit Airlines Have WiFi?
Why Are Hawaiian Airlines Offering Wi-Fi?
Hawaiian Airlines decided to add Wi-Fi so that it could give better customer service and stand out from other airlines. Offering extra services is another way to bring in more money and make more money. The in-flight internet technology has also matured, offering the service at a cost-effective rate.
Better Service And More Revenue
Running an airline can be tough for a business. There is a lot of competition, and customers want better service at lower prices.
Because of this, most low-cost airlines try to make more money by offering more services and goods on board. You can get meals, snacks, and better seats before and during the flight. The goal here is to get people to spend money on more than just plane tickets. This brings in more money from each customer, which could lead to more profits in the long run.
One way to do this is by providing Wi-Fi. Customers are becoming more connected and want to be able to get to their email, social media, or websites through the internet. Some customers also prefer to watch and stream their own entertainment shows instead of only being able to watch what’s on the in-flight entertainment system.
Separating Itself From Its Competitors
Aside from that, Hawaiian Airlines also tries to differentiate itself from its competitors by offering Wi-Fi services. At this moment, not all airliners are offering this. However, a general trend of airliners offering services, such as JetBlue and Spirit.
This may help Hawaiian Airlines’ sales. Suppose a customer has to choose between Hawaiian Airlines and a competitor at a similar price. In that case, they may choose Hawaiian Airlines as it offers internet connectivity.
Maturation of In-Flight Internet Technology
In-flight internet technology has been around for some time, with many airliners exploring the technology. However, the technology relies on having a network of signal towers and satellites to work, which may make the cost very expensive.
As a result, many airliners waited until the technology was mature before trying to roll it out to their customers. For Hawaiian Airlines, that moment is when SpaceX launches its network of Starlink satellites across the Pacific ocean. Now Hawaiian Airlines can constantly connect to the internet as it travels across the Pacific Ocean. With this possible, Hawaiian Airlines can finally offer in-flight Wi-Fi to its customers.
How Much Will Hawaiian Airlines Wi-Fi Cost?
According to Peter Ingram, the CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, the Wi-Fi service will be complimentary. This means you will get free in-flight internet with any Hawaiian Airlines tickets you purchase. However, it remains to be seen if the flight ticket prices may go up to cover the additional cost.
Unlike Spirit or Delta, which offer their in-flight internet at a fee, Hawaiian Airlines intends to offer in-flight Wi-Fi free of charge. This means Hawaiian Airlines will join other airline companies, such as JetBlue, that currently offer in-flight Wi-Fi for free.
According to Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines’ CEO, this allows Hawaiian Airlines to be more competitive in the market. This makes sense since low-cost flight companies are charging for internet connection since they tend to do the ‘pay-as-you-upgrade’ model.
That means with full-service airlines such as Hawaiian Airlines, the internet connection should be added to the flight ticket for free, just like the meals and in-flight entertainment.
The best thing is that the Wi-Fi connection you will get on Hawaiian Airlines flights will be much faster than what many airline companies currently offer.
How Fast Will Hawaiian Airlines Wi-Fi Be?
According to Hawaiian Airlines’ announcement, they intend to bring in broadband connection speed for their in-flight Wi-Fi, with speeds up to 200mbps. This means the connection quality will be blazing fast and leaps and bounds better than what is currently being offered in the market by many low-cost carriers.
Suppose you look at Hawaiian Airlines’ plans to offer inflight Wi-Fi. In that case, we know it will work together with Starlink to offer the service. This means we may be able to tell the connection speed by looking at Starlink’s satellites’ capabilities.
Looking at Starlink’s website, if you use their satellite internet, you can achieve download speeds of between 100 Mbps and 200mbps. On the latency, it will be around 20ms, which is very low.
The speed on offer is leaps and bounds better than what many airline companies offer today. For example, Spirit’s in-flight Wi-Fi can only reach download speeds of around 20mbps.
With this connection, you should not have issues streaming movies in High-Definition without buffering or glitches. You should also be able to play online games with your friends and host live streaming or zoom meetings while being on air.
Which Airlines Have In-Flight Internet?
At the moment of writing, many US airlines offer in-flight internet service. Some offer it for free, while some charge a fee to access it. However, the general trend is that airlines are offering the service, which means in the future, all major airlines in the US should be offering in-flight Wi-Fi.
|Airlines||Offers In-Flight Wi-Fi||Charges Per Passenger|
|Delta||Yes||$5 per device|
|Southwest||Yes||Flat fee of $8 per flight|
|United||Yes||$8 or $10 single-day pass, depending on loyalty program|
|American||Yes||$29 for a single-use pass|
|Alaska||Yes||Flat fee of $8 per flight|
|Hawaiian||No (Early 2023)||Free|
|Spirit||Yes||$2.99 to $16, depending on routes and speed|
As of the point of writing, when looking into the list of major US airlines, only Frontier, Allegiant, and Hawaiian are not offering any in-flight Wi-Fi. Hawaiian may not be offering it right now. However, their in-flight Wi-Fi should start rolling out in early 2023. It may still take time to have all in-flight Wi-Fi for all their flights.
When looking at the way the airline companies charge for their internet access, the pricing can be rather out of place. This is perhaps because in-flight Wi-Fi is still relatively new. Airline companies are still experimenting and finding the best price points to generate maximum revenue and sales.
The cheapest in-flight Wi-Fi starts with Spirit, with access as low as $2.99 only. However, this is for low-speed internet, which Spirit called a ‘surfing’ plan. The download speed for this Wi-Fi plan should be rather low so that you may not be able to stream videos.
The most expensive seem to be those from American Airlines. This makes sense as it is a full-service airline and flies to many international destinations across major oceans. This means that for it to offer in-flight Wi-Fi, it will need to arrange access with many satellite companies across the ocean spaces, meaning their cost would be higher.
However, as competition intensifies, in-flight Wi-Fi services should see further price drops or settle at their current mid to high single-digit price range. It remains to be seen if airline companies will continue to experiment with pricing, such as billing by the hour or data consumed. No matter what happens, passengers will enjoy the benefit of better service at a better price from these airline companies.