Airports and Wifi

As I’ve been spending quite a lot more time in airports this year than I normally do, something that was a mild annoyance before has become even more annoying: wifi access.

It’s 2016. Time for all airports to just offer free wifi access with no pay gate, no time limit, and no annoying required account setup.

My home airport does this and it’s so nice to be able to open a browser, accept terms, and be on your way. Access is dead easy, speed is very good, and I never have to deal with losing my connection if I have to move to a different gate or concourse. It’s nice to be able to get some work done while waiting for my flight.

Contrast that with my layover experience in Dulles yesterday where the wifi was spotty, so I lost my connection when my gate changed, and the only network with a decent signal was Boingo, which gives you a whopping 30 minutes free and then pushes you to pay $4.95 per hour thereafter.

Waiting for a recent flight out of Frankfurt, the wifi was free but it required me to set up an account and then activate my access from a link sent to my email. That email account no doubt is now currently full of marketing spam (I have an address I use precisely for things like this so I am not bothered by the inevitable spam). I had similar issues while waiting for a flight out of Amsterdam yesterday.

Airports of the world: you can do better when it comes to wifi access. It’s time.



8 thoughts on “Airports and Wifi

  1. Sadly, this situation is unlikely to change anytime soon. Along with charging airlines for each gate they have access to, and charging rental car companies a fee to operate shuttles on their properties, many airports make money from the wifi systems.

    Boingo, for example, is replacing its network at LAX, and under the new contract, the airport expects to earn almost $6 million dollars. That’s enough to cover the 2015 phone bill, and then some. 😀


    1. I know the revenue is a huge factor, but there’s gotta be a better way. If Orlando and Tampa can do it, other airports should be able to make that revenue up in other ways too. 🙂


      1. Orlando and Tampa probably don’t see enough visitor traffic for Boingo et la to pursue a contract there that would be worthwhile, since both are destinations, not hubs. That’s clearly not the case at LAX, or ATL even.


      2. Good point about the hub (I wish I had a hub near me), but ATL, CLT, and DFW are all hubs and they provide free wifi.


      3. Very strange.

        Boingo and the like pay for the equipment, so I’m surprised that any airport authority would waste its own money when it could get free infrastructure (and that kickback).

        The equipment for LAX alone was $1.5 million, which is probably more than any but the largest operators could afford. ATL and DFW make a bit of sense considering this, but they’re still wasting a lot of money by not accepting Boingo’s payoffs.


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