Posts in the category "Wi-Fi":

Travel Tidbits: Free Wi-Fi & More Fees

There’s good news and bad news for travelers this week.
Alaska Electronics

In Japan, rules have been eased so that airlines may allow passengers to use their personal electronic gadgets from gate to gate.

Free, unlimited Wi-Fi was introduced last week at Amsterdam’s Schiphol.

But as of today Allegiant Air follows the lead of Spirit Airlines in adding a fee to have an agent print out a boarding pass for you.

Here’s a link to my story about that Allegiant fee on USA TODAY, where I’m filling in on the Today in the Sky blog.

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Free Wi-Fi coming to NY-area airports

Free Wi-FI at airport

Looks like we won’t have the NY-area airports to kick around – Wi-Fi-wise- for much longer.

The Associated Press reports that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Wednesday approved a plan that -perhaps by the fall – will offer passengers at Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi.  After that, passengers will have pay the $7.95 day fee.

While that 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi s good news, of course, 30 minutes is hardly enough time to get anything done.  So here’s hoping free unlimited  Wi-Fi is in the future for the JFK, EWR and LGA airports.

Harstfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport recently changed its plan and now offers all passengers unlimited free Wi-Fi, with an option to get an upgraded service for a fee.

 

 

In progress: wish list of airport amenities for 2014

Hilo Airport one mile

2014 will arrive in just a few days and here at Stuck at the Airport we’re making a wish list of amenities we’d like to see touch down at airports in the new year.

Here’s a list of some of the “wants” that have been sent to me so far. Feel free to add your own…

“More outlets”

“More massage places”

“Free basic Wi-Fi in all airports”

“CVS-type stores”

“Wireless recharging spots”

“More relaxation areas like those at Helsinki and Taiwan airports”

“More 10-minute manicures and Minute Suites”

“Working electrical outlets”

“More work desks”

We’re got a few more days to add to the list, so please let me know what fresh amenities you’d like to see in airports in 2014.

Fast in-flight Wi-Fi: more important than legroom or lavs?

Not everyone wants or needs Wi-Fi access on a plane. For those who do, fast and reliable Wi-Fi is a such a priority, some say they’d even forgo access to the lavatory to get it, according to an industry survey.

Honeywell Aerospace, one of the companies that makes equipment for in-flight Wi-Fi service, surveyed 3,000 in-flight Wi-Fi users from London, the United States and Singapore and found that nearly 90 percent (86 percent in the United States; 89 percent in London; and 87 percent in Singapore;) would be willing to give up a physical amenity such as legroom, a reclining seat, preferred seating and even access to the bathroom in exchange for better in-flight connectivity.

The online survey was conducted via email invitation between May 15 and June 10 and polled 2,008 Americans, 508 Londoners and 501 Singaporeans ages 18 and over who used in-flight Wi-Fi in the prior 12 months.

In the survey, 61 percent of Americans (compared with 59 percent in London and 53 percent in Singapore,) said not having Wi-Fi during their entire flight would be worse than having a seat that doesn’t recline. About 76 percent of Americans (and 73 percent in both London and Singapore,) said a slow Wi-Fi connection was more irksome than slow snack and beverage services during a flight.

And, in exchange for the best Wi-Fi service possible, 42 percent of Americans said they’d be happy to forgo the in-flight snacks, 22 percent would give up beverage service and 13 percent (17 percent in London and 22 percent in Singapore) would trade away their lavatory privileges.

“Wi-Fi is becoming an important amenity and one that can’t be brought on-board by consumers as food and drinks can be,” said Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorksCompany, a consulting organization, “That might explain why travelers are so eager for it.”

In most cases, the number of travelers who said they’d actually give up an amenity in exchange for a better Wi-Fi signal was sharply lower than those who simply rated fast Wi-Fi as highly desirable. But these results show that “in-flight Wi-Fi is no longer a luxury, but considered a part of what passengers expect in travel comfort.” said Bill Kircos, Honeywell Aerospace vice president of Communications.

But no matter what this vendor-sponsored survey says, for now, “the majority of travelers absolutely will not trade off amenities they consider to be more essential, such as legroom, for Wi-Fi,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst with Hudson Crossing.

A February survey by TripAdvisor of 2,000 travelers underlines his point. While one quarter of respondents said they’d choose one airline over another if it offered in-flight Wi-Fi, the top five biggest complaints about air travel were uncomfortable seats/limited legroom, airline fees and ticket prices, unpredictable flight delays, long security lines and annoyances from loud children and other passengers—not slow Wi-Fi.

“Some passengers will prefer to stay offline while aloft and others consider Wi-Fi to be as essential as the bar cart,” Harteveldt told CNBC by email. “I’m writing you to now from a plane, so I’d certainly put myself in the latter group. But not everyone in my row, or the rows ahead or behind me, is online.”

Still, technology marches on. And while no one has yet devised a way keep babies from crying on airplanes, faster and more reliable in-flight Wi-Fi is on the way.

Kircos said Honeywell Aerospace and its partners are working on a satellite-based system that will provide “a high-speed, consistent and across-ocean wireless connectivity experience.” Other companies, including Row 44, a subsidiary of Global Eagle Entertainment, are working on services they say will do the same. And on Wednesday, Gogo, which currently provides in-flight connectivity to more than 2,000 commercial aircraft and more than 6,500 business aircraft, announced a new hybrid technology that it says will perform at least six times faster than the current service. “Gogo is adding an extra ‘down’ connection from the satellites to its ground-based system. Together, it promises a big bump,” said John Walton, director of data for Routehappy.

The service will be available in the second half of 2014, with Virgin America as the launch partner.

(My story about what passengers might give up in exchange for faster in-flight Wi-Fi first appeared on the CNBC Road Warrior blog.)

Faster free Wi-Fi at SFO Airport

SFO PINBALL CONTROL TOWER

 

Yes, some things about hanging around the airport in the old days were better.

But today we have airports with gourmet dining and museum-quality exhibitions.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has all that, as well as a free Wi-Fi service that was recently upgraded to a faster, ad-free version that offers connect times that now last up to two hours.

The service also extends to the Rental Car Center.

Nice.

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