Starlink Scuttlebutt: Skepticism and Support

The Starlink antenna panel is small and light, while promising high speed internet service on airplanes.
The Starlink antenna panel is small and light, while promising high speed internet service on airplanes.

Nearly every conversation about in-flight connectivity at Aircraft Interiors Expo 2022 in Hamburg this week includes mention of the SpaceX Starlink offering. Company executives are wandering the show floor carrying an antenna panel that they hope will soon be certified to fly, while airlines and competitors alike debate the unique path the company has chosen for nearly every facet of the offering.

Some of the conversations are reasonable debates on technology, pricing, and regulatory hurdles. Some are clearly efforts to confuse the market and cast doubt on the company’s viability.

And, somewhere in the middle sits reality.

Rumors Swirling

Perhaps most notable were murmurs that Hawaiian Airlines already cancelled its plans to put Starlink on board. Backing out of an announcement just seven weeks old would, indeed, be a major shift.

Kris Tanahara, Hawaiian’s Managing Director of Corporate Communications says that’s not at all the case. The carrier continues in its “initial stages of implementation and expects to begin installing the product on select aircraft next year.”

How such a cancel could happen, however, is far different with Starlink than with other providers.

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These challenges for Starlink are very real. And maybe the service will not be as perfect as promised at the get-go.

Still, one North American airline suggested the easier relationship terms and the sky high promises are too good to ignore. “Even if it works just a quarter of what they’re promising, it is still better than what we can get from anyone else.”

Certainly a bit of hyperbole there, but it shows that airlines are very much taking the Starlink offering seriously. Even – or perhaps especially – those who already have service on board and know what can be realistically delivered.

More on Starlink:

More news from Aircraft Interiors Expo 2022

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.