Delta Tests SpaceX Starlink Internet Onboard Aircraft: CEO

  • Delta has tested SpaceX Starlink’s internet tech on its planes, the airline’s CEO said.
  • In an interview with The WSJ, Ed Bastian said Delta held talks with Elon Musk’s company.
  • A Starlink exec said in 2021 that the company was talking to airlines about offering in-flight WiFi.

Delta has tested SpaceX Starlink’s satellite internet technology onboard its planes, the airline’s CEO has said.

Ed Bastian told The Wall Street Journal that Delta had held talks with Starlink, the satellite


division of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, and had conducted exploratory testing of the internet technology. 

Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX’s vice president of Starlink and commercial sales, said in June 2021 that the company was in talks with “several” airlines about providing on-board internet connections. It’s a service that several other companies already provide to airlines.

In its Monday report on Delta’s plans for Starlink, The Journal said Bastian declined to discuss specifics.

Bastian told The Journal in 2018 that WiFi should be free on planes and in 2019, Delta introduced a two-week pilot of free internet on certain flights. The airline announced in March 2022 that more than 300 of its aircraft had begun offering Viasat’s satellite internet, costing each passenger a flat rate of $5 per flight.

Starlink is designed to connect rural, underserved communities to internet, but the company has also requested in a filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that it connect moving vehicles, including planes, ships, and large trucks, to Starlink.

In June 2021, Musk tweeted that Starlink was concentrating on attaining regulatory certification for Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’s A320 planes because they served the largest number of people.

Insider has reached out to Delta for comment on its Starlink tests. SpaceX didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.