Free in-flight Wi-Fi for the holidays

Yesterday Google Chrome announced that it is partnering with AirTran Airways, Delta, and Virgin America to offer passengers free Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi from November 20, 2010 through January 2, 2011.

That’s great news, of course, but I had a few questions:

What about those folks who’ve already purchased monthly “Gogo Unlimited” packages?

Not to worry, say the folks at AirCell, who have so far installed the Gogo inflight internet on 1033 (and counting) aircraft:

“During the Google promotion, we will work with each individual to meet their upcoming travel needs. We encourage Gogo Unlimited customers to contact our Care team at customercare@gogoinflight.com.”

OK. But what airports?

Last year Google’s Holiday Wi-Fi program sponsored free Wi-Fi at close to 50 airports.  Some of those airports were already offering free Wi-Fi and over the past year a few airports have switched from paid to free Wi-Fi service. But there are still plenty of airports where sending a few emails requires the purchase of a 24-hour Wi-Fi pass.

Earlier this year there was talk of Google partnering with airports to offer not only free Wi-Fi, but free long distance phone calls and other sure-to-be-appreciated perks. Today a Google spokesperson told me that’s not going to happen.

But Santa-Google, we’ve been good. As long as you’re sponsoring all that free in-flight Wi-Fi, why not throw in a bit of free Wi-Fi for travelers who will find themselves stuck at the airport this holiday season?