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QATAR AIRWAYS: partners with Elon Musk’s Starlink for inflight internet. Conspiracy theorists will go crazy!

QATAR AIRWAYS: partners with Elon Musk’s Starlink for inflight internet. Conspiracy theorists will go crazy!

Qatar Airways has announced that it has selected Starlink, one of Elon Musk’s companies, to supply high-speed internet access on its flights. You know Elon, the guy who cancelled the brand value of ‘Twitter’ just because he likes to name things ‘X’.

What’s more, Qatar will make this service free to passengers. That will shake up the airline industry since most airlines currently charge for internet access on international flights.

Starlink coverage map from its website [Starlink]
Starlink coverage map from its website [Starlink]

In-air Internet services

Starlink will give passengers Wi-Fi speeds of up to 350 megabits per second (Mbps) compared to most airline systems that max out at around 45 Mbps. Starlinks speeds will be suitable for gaming, VPN access, sports streaming and other intense uses on board Qatar flights. That’s a substantial improvement on the speeds most airlines provide.

Qatar is not the first airline to sign up to Starlink. Airlines such as airBaltic, Hawaiian Airlines, JSX, and ZIPAIR already use Starlink for their onboard internet.

The downside of Starlink will be some limitations of coverage. As you can see from the map below, whole sub-continents like India are not currently covered, and areas like Russia and China don’t seem to be on the drawing board. So for flights between Australia and Europe, which traverse some of those areas, there could be large gaps in the service

Qatar A380, a glass of rose champagne before departure [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
Qatar A380, a glass of rose champagne before departure [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Conspiracy Theories

Qatar Airlines has plenty of controversy flying around it. Think strip searching Australian women at Doha airport, or the employment practices of the airline and its owners, the Qatari Emirate. Add to that the emirate’s associations with Hamas and the current conflict in Israel and the Gaza Strip. And if that ain’t enough to give your conspiracy brain a workout, hold that thought and join it with Elon Musk, the owner of where conspiracy theories are grown and propagated – I’m talking Twitter (now ‘X’).

Elon is not above propagating a conspiracy theory or 20 himself. Did someone say QAnon?

a man and two children sitting at a table in a plane
Q Suites [Qatar Airways]

2PAXfly Takeout

Internet access while airborne is of increasing importance to both airlines and passengers. It provides passengers with many more entertainment options and allows us to use our own devices onboard. That also means that airlines can rethink the provision of screens, especially to economy passengers, which eliminates cost and weight on flights, making them cheaper.

Although one person always speaks loudly and uses speakerphone on a Wi-Fi-enabled flight, the collective anarchy of multiple mobile phone conversations that Wi-Fi access threatened when it was first introduced doesn’t seem to have eventuated.

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