Cheaper – and free – airport Wi-Fi

Free Wi-FI at airport

[Updated: 8/24/12 at noon]

Boingo Wireless and Google Offers are teaming up to offer discounted Wi-Fi access at 16 airports around the country that currently either charge for Wi-Fi services or offer limited free Wi-Fi sessions.

To take advantage of the offer, you may have to sign up for Google Offers (a Groupon-like deal service) and then purchase the discounted Boingo AsYouGo 24-hour deal, which is limited to one per person.

According to Boingo spokesperson Katie O’Neill, the length of the discount offer depends on how many people in the 16 participating airports purchase the passes, so the promotion may be withdrawn before the end of September.

Here are the participating airports:

  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
  • O’Hare International Airport
  • Chicago Midway Airport
  • Denver International Airport
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
  • William P. Hobby Airport
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport
  • Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • New York LaGuardia Airport
  • Newark Liberty International Airport
  • Will Rogers World Airport -Oklahoma City
  • Lambert-St. Louis International Airport
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
  • Dulles International Airport

Before you hit “buy,” keep in mind that some of these airports, such as Denver, Dulles and Ronald Reagan Washington National, already offer a complimentary Wi-Fi service. Others, such as Austin-Bergstrom and Houston’s Hobby and George Bush Intercontinental, offer complimentary sessions of 30 to 45 minutes. The Detroit Metropolitan Airport recently announced that it would be offering complimentary limited sessions as well, beginning in September.

Why would you buy a discounted day pass when you can get Wi-Fi service at an airport for free? Only if you need more time than the free limited-time offers give you and if you want your Wi-Fi signal to be more robust than what others in the airport are getting.

“[M]ost complimentary Wi-Fi sessions have restrictions placed on them — either in terms of duration or bandwidth or both. The 50% offer from Google Offers and Boingo is for half off the premium sessions that are good for 24 hours at the top speeds available,” says O’Neill.

And don’t forget sponsored, 40-minute sessions of complimentary Wi-Fi are also rolling out at Dallas-Fort Worth International in September, courtesy of AT&T.  (More details about that here) .