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.
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discount offer depends on how many people in the 16 participating airports purchase the passes, so the promotion may be withdrawn before the end of September.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) .
One of the most requested, used and appreciated amenities at airports these days is free wireless internet access.
And, in more and more airports, travelers are finding that Wi-Fi access is indeed free.
But the definition of “free” seems to be changing.
The trend for a while there was for airports to offer passengers unlimited use of Wi-Fi, making it possible to turn an irritating hour or two wait for a flight into productive work time. But then some airports, such as Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental, began offering free Wi-Fi for limited time periods, forcing travelers who needed more time to purchase the service.
Three recent free Wi-Fi announcements underscore what now seems to be an official “sort-of-free” trend.
Earlier this week, it was announced that when Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport (finally) opens, next March, passengers will be able to access basic complimentary Wi-Fi service for 30 minutes. (Somewhat troubling, users will only be able to access the service by entering a credit or debit card number.)
Travelers needing more than 30 minutes of Wi-Fi access (and, really, who doesn’t) will have to purchase a premium service – with higher bandwidth – from the contracted service provider, Boingo.
After some controversy over the fast-tracking of an interim Wi-Fi provider contract while what could be a two-year process to find a company to replace T Mobile gets underway, complimentary Wi-Fi should begin at Los Angeles International Airport in July.
Passengers will get access to 45 minutes of Internet service provided by Advanced Wireless after watching a 15- to 30-second advertisement.
And on Wednesday, Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) announced that, in September, Boingo would begin offering a limited complimentary Wi-Fi access service as well.
At DTW, access to the airport’s wireless network for 30 minutes will be offered for no cost after viewing a 30-second video advertisement. “Users who require an extended or high-speed connection will continue to have the option to connect via one of Boingo’s existing service plans,” the airport said in a statement.
Some say that airports are taking a page from airlines, which now charge for services – such as checked baggage and seat assignments – that were once considered part of the ticket package. Boingo corporate communications director Christian Gunning says that the trend of airports offering tiered wireless access (free for s short time; then access to premium service for a fee) allows airports to generate revenue from both casual and more serious users.
Via e-mail he said, “Some of the airports really need every extra bit of revenue they can muster since they’re operating under big budgetary deficits and some manage to generate healthy revenues from alternate concessions (think slot machines in Las Vegas). … It’s pretty complicated overall, and the final outcome is slightly different for each airport we work with.”
Irritating? You bet.
What travelers might soon encounter at more airports?