Should you pay for Wi-Fi? Airports explore tiered service

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by sobore, Jun 15, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://travel.usatoday.com/experts/...Fi-Airports-explore-tiered-service/48413614/1

    For years, one of the top if not the top amenity on many road warriors' wish lists has been free Wi-Fi at the airport.
    Slowly but surely, it's happening.

    Take a look at the USATODAY.com Airport Guides, airport websites, and various commercial and user-generated Wi-Fi directories. You'll see there are now hundreds of U.S. airports offering travelers complimentary wireless Internet access.

    San Francisco? Free. Orlando? Free. Seattle, Sacramento and San Jose? Free, free, free.
    Washington's Dulles and National airports? As of April, 2011, free as well.
    Free Wi-Fi sounds great. But during heavy usage times at some airports, service often slows down. And some free airport Wi-Fi has strings. Most often, it's in the form of advertising a user must view before getting online.

    At Denver International Airport, "Sometimes it's a session sponsorship, such as a video and then users are directed to the internet," said DIA spokesperson Laura Coale. "Sometimes it is banner ads."

    At Boston's Logan International Airport, where 198,000 free Wi-Fi sessions were logged during May, travelers must click through to a second screen before they see the button offering free Wi-Fi. "The user agrees to watch a short commercial or take a survey to gain access to the free site," said airport spokesperson Mathew Brelis, "That times out after an hour and they need to log back on again."

    There remain some holdouts. Notable among airports that only offer paid Wi-Fi (outside of airline club lounges) are Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and JFK, except for JetBlue's Terminal 5, where complimentary Wi-Fi is offered as an amenity by the airline. There's a plan underway to provide free Wi-Fi at Los Angeles International Airport within a year.
     
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  2. emajy
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    emajy Silver Member

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    If I need to get Internet access I tether my computer to my cell phone. Already paid for and secure.
     
  3. gobluetwo
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    gobluetwo Silver Member

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    I just use my wireless card. That way, I can still use my phone :)

    Also, why didn't the article mention O'hare (not free)? Kind of a big airport...
     
  4. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    Imho, airport wifi should be free. If it's slow due to high usage so be it and perhaps offer a pay for higher speed via a separate signal option?
     
  5. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Some airports even offer free computers, often without chairs to discourage extended use by one person. I've tried them in SIN and AUS.
     
  6. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    Did you tire them, or did they tire you? ;)

    I tether to my cell phone most of the time, but I appreciate free wi-fi in CLT and CAE. Shame that ATL continues to hold out.
     
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  7. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I think both. I used them for a while but the computers and connections seemed a bit slow.

    I used to tether to my cell phone a long time ago, when I still had dial-up internet service as an optional way to access the internet. It was nice to have service, albeit slow, anywhere that I had cellular coverage and not worry about hotel internet or business center charges. I thought it worked well for minor chores such as email and flight status, but it certainly would have been frustrating for more intense uses.
     
  8. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    I'm not sure if you meant to imply that it is, but tethering today is not the same as using dial-up through a cellphone in years past.
     
  9. MSPeconomist
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    I know, but in the old days it was an easy way to avoid paying for internet access, although at the cost of slowness.
     
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  10. Bob Smolinsky
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    Bob Smolinsky Gold Member

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    Basic should be free, but high bandwidth should be paid for.
     
  11. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    That is a good solution if you are always in the same country- however internationally roaming can be extremely expensive- I have seen prices as high as $40 USD per MB plus a connection fee plus a minimum fee- and of course it is quite difficult to know how much traffic you are exactly using. Internet access in airports really should be free- the cost can be part of the passenger service fees which are very very high in many airports already.
     
  12. DenverBrian
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    DenverBrian Silver Member

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    Define "high" bandwidth.
     
  13. emajy
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    emajy Silver Member

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    That is true. when I was recently in Germany I got an O2 Sim card with unlimited data for 30 days. Worked well and I did tether. The data charge was 14 euros. So checking local options does help.
     
  14. Grace
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    Grace Silver Member

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    PRG has free and paid internet. The free was OK on my phone, but might have been painful on a laptop.
     
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