free Wi-Fi

Surf’s up at Munich Airport

The surf’s definitely up at Munich Airport this summer.

MUC SURFING

The 3rd European Standing Wave Championship is going on this weekend in a giant wave pool installed between two runways at Munich Airport, with surfers competing for 10,000 euros in prize money.

Here’s a highlight video from last year:

The competition is part of the “Surf & Style powered by Lufthansa” event running through August 25 and anyone can stop by and go surfing from 10 am until 8pm. There’s even a free surfing time each day starting at 3 pm (reservations required).

For those who have finished surfing or who just want to hang out by the water, there’s a beach area with palm trees, lounge chairs and a cocktail bar.

There’s another way to surf for free at Munich Airport: on the internet.

In the past, 30 free Wi-Fi minutes were only accessible to those who opened a browser, put in a mobile phone number and waited for a text message with a log-in code.

Now you just need to launch a browser and plug in an email address to get on-line.

Free Wi-Fi at Heathrow Airport

Someday there will be complimentary Wi-Fi at all airports.

We’re moving in that direction, but some pretty major airports still charge for that service.

Heathrow Airport has been one of them. But that will change – somewhat – when the airport’s contract with Boingo expires on May 31, 2013 and a new one, with Arqiva, goes live on Saturday, June 1.

Under the new service, everyone will get 45 minutes of free Wi-Fi at Heathrow once every calendar day. Members of the free Heathrow Rewards program will get 90 minutes of free Wi-Fi.  A Heathrow Airport spokesperson said passengers will not be permitted to log on to the free service from the same device more than once per calendar day.

After your time is up, the fees will be about $1.50 for one hour and about $7.50 for three hours.  A 24 hour pass will be about $13.60, by today’s exchange rates.

Look for more information about the new Wi-Fi service on the Heathrow Airport website beginning June 1.

50th Birthday Party for Chicago O’Hare Airport

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Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is having a 50th Anniversary Celebration this week with a wide variety of special theme days, music, activities and – yay – discounts and free stuff for passengers.

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Here’s a run-down.

Throughout the week, many concessions will be offering discounts and specials.

Monday, March 25 is Military Appreciation Day. 

Military and cadet bands will perform in all terminals from 2 to 5 p.m and United Service Organizations of Illinois (USO) will staff tables in the domestic terminals to share information about O’Hare’s two USO centers for military personnel and their families.

Tuesday, March 26 is Family Day. 

All terminals will have family-themed entertainment including jugglers, face painters, balloon twisters and clowns from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children’s activity books will be distributed at food and beverage concessions all week long.

Wednesday, March 27 is O’Hare Employee Day. 

There will be special treats for all the people who work at the airport and, for everyone, performances by Chicago Blues bands in all the terminals from 2 to 5 p.m.

Thursday, March 28 – Business Community Day. 

For everyone who needs to take care of business while passing through the airport, there will be 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi via Boingo’s splash screen.

Jazz bands will perform in all the terminals from 2 to 5 p.m.

Friday, March 29 – Celebrate Chicago Day. 

Choose Chicago reps will be handing out information about Chicago and there will be International music performances in all terminals from 2 to 5 p.m.

Eli’s Cheesecake Café will also roll out an an enormous cheesecake and offer free slices to passengers in Terminal 1 near Gate B9.

Travel Tidbits: blizzard, extra points and free Wi-Fi

Snowstorm

Thanks to Storm Nemo, on Thursday evening I was one of the hundreds of thousands of travelers who had to cancel important weekend plans that involved flying to the east coast.

Then I had to sit on the phone for hours trying to work out a new and, it turns out, quite expensive new plan.

For those of you still trying to figure out your options, here’s a link to a list of many of the change-fee waiver policies airlines have posted.

In other news…. Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport announced that it is the latest airport to join the Thanks Again program, which offers travelers frequent flyer miles or points for qualifying purchases made at the airport for things such as parking, food and retail items. Travelers at DFW will also be able to get points or miles for stays at the airport hotels, such as the Grand Hyatt, and at Paradise 4 Paws, the airport’s pet hotel.

170 other airports already participate in the Thanks Again program – which requires a simple sign-up and registration of a credit-card.

And during the month of February passengers at John F. Kennedy (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA) and Newark Liberty International (EWR) airports – as well as passengers at some New York City subway stations – will be able to get complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi sessions courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line, which is celebrating a new ship, the Norwegian Breakaway.

That should come in handy if you end up stuck at one of those airports – or in the city – this weekend due to Storm Nemo.

Travel tidbits: Free Wi-Fi at Houston Airports & Bigfoot at Sea-Tac

Free Wi-FI at airport

Yay! Free Wi-Fi is coming to Houston’s Hobby and George Bush Intercontinental airports.

Currently, travelers at these airports can get 45 minutes of complimentary Wi-Fi via Boingo, but according to this article in the Houston Business Journal, the Houston airport authority, is looking at getting a new Wi-Fi provider and offering free Wi-Fi by the end of the year.

SEA BIGFOOT

And good news for Bigfoot fans. A StuckatTheAirport.com reader wanted to know if the Bigfoot mugs I wrote about a while back were still for sale at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). According to Jeff Martin, the general manager of the Hudson Group shops at Sea-Tac, the mugs – and some other Bigfoot finds – are for sale at Discover Puget Sound [Central Terminal] and in the Hudson news locations at A-3, B-6, and the North and South Satellites. A line of Bigfoot coffee should also be for sale soon. Martin says “Apparently Bigfoot prefers a dark French Roast…but we’ll also carry a Breakfast Blend.”

No word on how many Bigfoot mugs or bags of my favorite Seattle souvenir, Space Noodles, have been sold, but the airport recently shared some surprising statistics about other items sold on-site.

Anthony’s Restaurant, the main sit-down restaurant in the central terminal, is the highest grossing airport restaurant in North America. During 2012 revenues totaled $12.8 million.

Notable product sales at Sea-Tac airport include:
1.7 million bottles of water
230,000 bags of M&Ms
90,000 neck pillows
20,000 copies of the best-selling book “Fifty Shades of Grey”
And nearly 10,000 “Sleepless in Seattle” nightshirt and pajamas.

spacenoodles